The Oklahoma Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes are set to go live with real money online gambling via their website PokerTribes.com this summer.
So add Oklahoma to the shortlist of US states that will be offering real money online gambling, right?
Not so fast.
As part of the condition to a new agreement authorized by the state, PokerTribes.com will not be permitted to accept real money players from the US.
Oklahoma will share 20 percent of the proceeds derived from the online gambling business from business overseas, in Canada and south of the border where legal. Assuming the site is marketed properly, Oklahoma could quickly realize the benefits of legalizing real money gambling that targets players within Oklahoma and perhaps other states. The state anticipates hundreds of millions of dollars to be generated over the next decade.
On the surface, the new compact does appear to be a defeat for online gambling in the US where Oklahoma is concerned.
New compact agreements between Oklahoma and a leading western tribe mark an historic moment in relations between the sovereign governments. The new accords ban in-state Internet gaming while establishing a new revenue stream for Oklahoma, establish a tobacco compact, and form a cooperative agreement on outdoor burn bans as part of joint efforts to battle the exceptional drought afflicting Oklahoma.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and Gov. Janice Prairie-Chief Boswell of the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes signed the agreements in an April 5 (Friday) ceremony at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City.
Various Tribes are already contemplating offering Internet gambling within the US beyond the play money format and, as such, it is doubtful that the forward-thinking Cheyennes would not push for Web gambling in the States at some point.
Friday evening, Brian Foster of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (OIGA) issued the following statement: “The Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association has been informed that a member Tribe has entered into an agreement with the State of Oklahoma to insure the citizens within the State cannot participate in Internet Gaming off Indian Lands as set forth in the Model Tribal Gaming Compact passed by the Oklahoma citizens in November 2004.
“Since this agreement has affected a site currently in operation, the OIGA office of the Chairman supports the Tribe in the cease and desist of the Internet site within the jurisdiction of the United States of America and any other jurisdiction which might have laws prohibiting its citizens from such forms of Gaming.
“The OIGA looks forward to assisting our member tribes as they are joining a rapidly changing and developing international gaming industry. Worldwide projections show the annual marketplace to be at 30 billion dollars. This is the next step in generating much needed revenue for Oklahoma Tribes and the State of Oklahoma.”
Gov. Boswell told CapitolBeatOK.com: “The Settlement Agreement effectively shuts down the Tribes online social gaming network, including Pokertribes.com, inside the United States in exchange for an Agreement that the Tribes be allowed to operate the site internationally pursuant to international standards and each specific countries jurisdictional requirements consistent with all state of Oklahoma and U.S. federal laws.”
Whether the Cheyenne Tribe can capitalize on the highly competitive i-Gaming market outside the USA remains to be seen. Casino giant MGM, after all, tried and failed.
- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com