Ioway Internet Gaming Enterprise Limited, an online gambling company belonging to Oklahoma’s Iowa Tribe, has obtained an online poker license from the Isle of Man, the first license of its kind to be granted to a Native Indian tribe in the US.
According to a tribe spokesperson, the tribe has created history by receiving an Isle of Man online poker license. The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission, which is located 4,500 miles away from the tribal reservation, granted the license to the tribal company last month.
Bobby Walkup, the chairman of Iowa Tribe, announced that the tribe overcame the last hurdle to launching a real money online poker room in Perkins, Oklahoma when it obtained the license. The tribe had announced its plans to launch an online poker room two years before getting the license.
But in August 2016, it said that the launch of its online poker room was delayed as it was exploring the possibility of getting an international online poker license.
In a statement, Walkup said
The process has taken longer than we may have envisioned when we began this journey, but, because we are a Native American tribe and held to higher gaming legal and regulatory standards, we had to ensure that we met all these standards.
The tribe had also gone to court against the state of Oklahoma regarding its plans to launch an online poker room. An arbitrator had ruled in Nov 2015 that the tribe was within its rights to offer over the Internet all the games mentioned in its gaming compact with the state, provided the players were non-residents of the US, but residing in jurisdictions where gambling is legal. In April 2016, an Oklahoma federal district court certified the arbitration.
Another reason for the delayed launch of PokerTribe.com is the delay in the sale of a software company that the tribe jointly owns with Universal Entertainment Group, its technology partner in Florida. Walkup says that the sale is in its final stages at present and that the tribe is working with its partner so that the transfer of assets can be finalized.
The tribe’s online poker room will not accept players from Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey, the only US states that have legalized online gambling because the tribe has to first obtain a license from those states in order to operate there. The tribe says that PokerTribe.com will go live this fall.