Isle of Man Provides iGaming License to Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma

by Jim Hall

Iowa Tribe of OklahomaThe Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma will be able to provide online gaming now thanks to a new license provided by the Isle of Man.

The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma have been trying for some time now to become the first Native American tribe to launch an online poker site offering real money gambling in legal form. The tribe created the website PokerTribe.com and had all intentions of launching the site on August 1st but decided to delay the site. With the delay, the tribe stated that they would be continuing to work with foreign governments on a launch that would be worldwide. The tribe has now announced they have been provided licensing for online gaming via the Isle of Man, which marks a major step forward in offering real money online poker gaming.

Back Story

To understand the approval of the tribe for online poker gaming, it is important to understand the backstory. In September 2015, the tribe worked with Universal Entertainment group, a developer of gaming software, to create the online poker site the tribe would offer. According to the Gambling Compliance Unit of Oklahoma, the efforts would be illegal but Charles Chapel, an independent arbitrator, ruled in the tribe’s favor.

According to Chapel, using the internet is just using technology to play games in a way to increase the revenues of the tribe. The usage of the internet does not extend the scope of games the tribe can offer or restrict such games, and also does not amend the compact signed by the tribe with the state. Terms of the compact remain in force.

The federal government as well as the state government decided to accept this ruling. The Tribe and Universal Entertainment Group decided to continue on with their efforts to launch an online gaming site. Back in August, the delayed launch of the site was announced as efforts were being made to finalize licensing and banking involving international merchants. Partners in banking with the tribe’s online poker site include American Express, Discover, Visa and MasterCard along with European financial institutions.

What’s To Come

Now that licensing has been granted by the Isle of Man, the tribe is ready to go live with PokerTribe.com this fall. However, an exact date for launch has not been revealed. The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma is also working on selling a company that creates poker software. The tribe and UEG worked together to purchase the software company and now look to sell.

Bobby Walkup is the Chairman of the Iowa Tribe who stated that they are in the final stages of the software company sale and are working with Universal Entertainment Group to complete the transfer of online gaming assets. This will include a software licensing agreement to a company that is known to have a brand that is internationally known.

Walkup stated further that the tribe is proud to be the first Native American tribe to be able to obtain an international online gaming license. The process has been long but the tribe was held to a higher standard when it comes to legal and regulatory standards, having to be sure they met those standards in order to offer such gaming options.

Last year, representatives of the tribe traveled to the Isle of Man in order to meet with gaming regulators and discuss licensing. Once home, the tribe and the UEG decided to create the Iowa Internet Gaming Enterprise Limited on the Isle of Man. The new company was applied for licensing in February then was approved in June with conditions having to be met before the license would be provided.