On April 5, the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes took down their free-play Internet gaming site PokerTribes.com after the State of Oklahoma refuted their right to operate it.
“It was a misunderstanding,” Steve Mullins, Gov. Mary Fallin’s general counsel, told NewsOK.com of the tribes thinking their gaming compact permitted them to run a play-for-fun poker website. “They came to the table, and they worked with us until we could get it resolved. They’ve been good partners on that.”
But the parties reached a new agreement that allows the tribes to re-launch the site for real money bets if the website is exclusive to players outside of the U.S., and the tribes pay the state a 20 percent cut of the proceeds. Oklahoma Gov. Fallin and Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes Gov. Janice Prairie-Chief Boswell signed the agreements in an April 5 ceremony at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, reported gambling911.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,” Gov. Boswell told CapitolBeatOK.com.
The homepage of PokerTribes.com currently states the real-time, real-money website will go live this summer on “the web, mobile, iPad, laptop, desktop & apps near you.” And the website, developed and managed by Universal Entertainment Group, won’t be relegated to poker. It will offer a variety of casino games like bingo, blackjack and pull-tabs.
The two parties also reached the conclusion that the “approval of the National Indian Gaming Commission, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Department of the Interior may be beneficial, but is not necessary for this Agreement to be in full force and effect.”
Brian Foster, the chief executive officer of the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes and chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association, told CapitolBeatOK.com he applauded the “dual effort … to open the pathway for international gaming.”
The Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes operate two brick-and-mortar casinos in the state, both named Luck Star Casino, in Concho and Clinton.