The Iowa Native American tribe of Oklahoma, announced last week on Wednesday, the 18th of May 2016 that they have launched a part of their long-awaited online casino.
The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma launched peer-to-peer poker, bingo and pull-tabs services on their site and called it the “first phase” of their online platform. All the games are currently being provided via PokerTribe.Com and the site is now open in several international markets and to all residents in the USA except the ones in the tribes own state, Oklahoma.
In celebration of the launch of the first phase, Bobby Walkup, the Vice Chairman of the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, has offered $50,000 in-play credits for the players to enjoy at the tribe's state of the art, social gaming platform. He has explained that the credit will become available once users visit the tribe's online casino webpage and create a free user account.
All the games that have been launched as part of this initiation step are free to play; however, the long term plans for their site is to roll out real money services, which could be introduce as early as August of this year.
The “second phase,” as they have labelled the future launch of real money services, will only make the real money casino games available to the international market. Amidst all the regulatory laws that operate within the national borders of the USA, it would take a lot more on the tribe’s part to be able to offer a gaming service of this nature across state borders any time soon.
“The second phase will introduce more games and real-money play for international markets,” the tribe said in a press release.
Out of the four originally regulated states in the USA, only three of the states have approved intra-state online casino gambling; that too for a handful of state-approved companies. Out of Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware, where they have necessary permits to run the services, Nevada and Delaware have formed a partnership to pool online poker liquidity across state lines.
Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma
The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma is one of two federally recognised tribes of Iowa people. The tribe is headquartered in Perkins, Oklahoma and their tribal jurisdiction spans from Lincoln to Payne Counties in Oklahoma. The tribe, which has around 800 members, owns and operates two brick-and-mortar casinos that are located within the state – the Cimarron Casino in Perkins and the Ioway Casino Resort in Chandler. On top of the casinos, they also own a truck stop, a gas station, a smoke shop, a bingo hall and an off-track wagering facility in Oklahoma.
Journey to the Launch
The tribe has been trying to break into the online gambling market for a while now. Although, in November 2015, a ruling was issued stating that the tribe owned poker site would not be in violation of the gaming compact the tribe has with the state of Oklahoma, they still needed a US District Court Judge in Oklahoma City to endorse the ruling.
Earlier in 2016, the certification was successfully acquired, which finally gave the tribe the green light to go ahead with development of the online casino site.
Universal Entertainment Group, the online gaming software developer, was selected to work with the tribe for the development of their poker site.
The tribe also added in their press release that there is a “phase three” of their plan, which will allow the tribe to offer their online casino services on board of international flights and cruises. That phase could be rolled out as early as next year.
Other Tribal Online Gambling Ventures
Two other federally recognized tribes that are also based in the state of Oklahoma—the Cheyenne Tribe and Arapaho Tribe had hoped to be the ones to launch the online casino site – Pokertribes.com; however, their efforts came to a sudden stop when, in 2014, the federal government issued an objection. Universal Entertainment Group was also selected to work with them as their tech partner, for that venture.
Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, formerly known as the Santa Ysabel Band of Diegueno Mission Indians, of California, were also looking to launch their very own online casino site in 2014; however, their plans too came to an abrupt halt, when the state of California sued them for their attempts. The state legislators are still working with the local tribes to pass a bill that would allow tribes to run online poker businesses.
California and Oklahoma are responsible for 40 per cent of the nation’s gaming revenues from Indian gaming facilities; they generated $28.9 billion in gaming revenue at Indian gaming facilities in 2014; with California reeling in USD 7.3 billion in gaming revenue through the tribal gambling market (in 2014).