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Feds and tribes from Oklahoma in a clash over a website for online gambling

Date: 28.02.2014 | Categories: Articles | Tags:

An Oklahoma online gambling site is being blocked by federal officials, and tribes sue

The Oklahoma’s Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes desire to offer internet gaming to players throughout the world, but at the moment they are in a legal fight with officials from the federal government.

In general Oklahoma does not allow online gambling but the Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes were given an authorization in April of this year by the state to operate a real-money online gambling website that targets international players.

The website Pokertribes.com was first launched as a free-to-play enterprise by the tribes with the hope of transforming it into an operation with real money that offers blackjack, poker, pull tabs and bingo.

However, the U.S. Department of the Interior meddled in their business and prevented the development in November. It forced the tribes to begin litigation and name as defendants the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, Kevin Washburn, and the Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell.

Spokespersons for the Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes concluded that the international online gambling ambitions of the tribe could bring in as much as USD 132 million over the period of the next 4 years, but such an estimation may be somewhat extravagant as it relies on the very ambitious assumption that they will cover two per cent of the world market.

So far the tribe has spent nearly nine and a half million dollars on the internet venture, as their legal representative states.

The website PEWStates reports that the deal in Oklahoma is the first of its kind with Mary Fallin, the Republican Gov., last April and its scope was unusual and allowing the tribes to operate a real-money online gambling website that targets gamblers from outside the US.

As part of the agreement, the tribes gave their agreement to Pokertribes.com online website that the state claimed was not legal.

Furthermore, they gave Oklahoma ten per cent of the revenues online card games generate and as much as 6 per cent from online lottery, bingo and the rest of the games.

In August of this year the Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes asked the federal administration of Obama to ratify the pact established between them and the Oklahoma state, stating that the international plan for online gambling will generate millions in revenue for the state government and smaller tribes.

Janice Prairie-Chief Boswell, the Arapaho and Cheyenne Gov., said:

“The plan is an innovative one and is of benefit to all involved parties. It is a win-win definition. No reason exists for the federal government to take part in what must be a matter between the state and the tribe. Our hope is that the administration of Obama allows this process to continue, which will demonstrate that all tribes can receive and equal and fair chance in Washington.”

Tribal and state officials commented that the initiate of the tribes Arapaho and Cheyenne could establish a future precedent and it may continue to generate the so much needed funding for tribes and state governments alike.

The Oklahoma’s tribal casinos generated revenues of USD 3.5 billion in 2011, and maintained a secondary position only to that of California. As much as USD 134 million was collected by Oklahoma as part of its agreements for revenue sharing with the tribes in 2011.

Other tribes known to have established online gambling free-to-play websites throughout the US will, without a doubt, observe the drama in Oklahoma unfold and calculate what chances they would have into introducing real-money online gambling action.

In no less than three mid-West states and the Washington state, tribal groups are known to be offering free play on the e-gamin and marketing platform of Play4Fun on offer by William Interactive, the Scientific Games – WMS Industries’ subsidiary, and on a similar white label b2b proposition offered by Bally Technologies.

All of these products offer poker and casino games deemed suitable for delivery via mobile and online channels in partnership with companies experienced in online gaming like 888.com and Amaya Gaming.