After a minor legal battle that was generally expected to become a major one, the state of Oklahoma has come out to say that it will not challenge the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma’s plans to launch a new online gambling site called PokerTribe.com. While US players will not be able to access this site and play real money games upon launch, there are a number of important things going on with this case that can seriously impact US players in the future.
The Current Legal Case
The legal case itself started back in December. The state of Oklahoma forced a situation where the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma had to sue them in federal court to clarify whether or not they were allowed to operate the site or not, as per their tribal gaming agreement. The arbitration process was started up, which is often futile, but the arbitrator found that there wasn’t actually any problem with the tribal gaming agreement since the operations were going to be running from tribal land and would be one of the first legal Oklahoma online gambling sites to go live.
As per this finding, the state of Oklahoma told the judge on Wednesday that they had nothing that could oppose the arbitrator’s decision, and that’s pretty obvious since everything they had a question about to begin with was whether the online operations fell within their agreement with the tribe. Along these lines, they’ll be free to operate PokerTribe.com however they wish.
A Previous Legal Case
Here’s where things get interesting: The Arapaho and Cheyenne Tribes of Oklahoma had almost an identical legal battle with the state of Oklahoma back in 2013, and it was found in federal court that they didn’t have the legal means to run the site then. It’s interesting that the decision has effectively been reversed just three years later, though it led the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes to drop their plans after the ruling was handed down.
On top of that, both cases would have seen the software used come from UEG (Universal Entertainment Group), a company with a ton of problems. This is a company based out of Florida that you may have seen in the news previously for having to settle with the Federal Trade Commission over a lawsuit to do with telemarketing to the tune of $4.2 million, a sizable sum.
Suffice to say that this plan is already looking bad from the get-go, but there’s more than illustrates just how unlikely it will be for this plan to see success.
Why PokerTribe.com Will Not Be Successful
There’s a simple factor of money that comes into play when deciding if a legal online poker site will be successful, and a quick look over the facts shows that PokerTribe.com won’t have what it takes. To start, the state will get 20 percent of the revenue for the site off the top. Once you take out the UEG’s piece of the action, the tribe itself is going to be left holding scraps.
If you want to know just how deep UEG’s piece goes, consider that they picked up almost $10 million from the failed Arapaho and Cheyenne deal that was stopped back in 2013 – and not a single wager was ever placed on the site. Now imagine how much they’re going to take of PokerTribe.com if they ever get off of the ground.
Regulation is Important for US Players
This case just illustrates something that’s very important for US players: Effective regulation is key to sustainable and successful legalized online gambling in the US. This weird cases of native tribes having to pay out to everyone but themselves shows that the online gambling industry is still a business at the end of the day, and if reputable companies aren’t involved, then you end up with companies like UEG, who could be sued again at any moment for goodness knows what, taking almost $10 million of a pie that hasn’t even finished cooking yet.