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Native American Tribe Reschedules Internet Poker Site Launch

Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma Plans October Real-Money Launch


A Native American tribe has decided to delay the launch of its real-money online poker site as it continues to negotiate with foreign governments over how the business will work, the tribe said via a press release this week.

The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, which has two brick-and-mortar casinos within Oklahoma, said that it is rescheduling the launch date for the real-money games that will be available to online gamblers in overseas markets. The new launch date is set for Oct. 15, 2016.

The tribe already launched a free-play online casino with poker, which is available overseas and in America with the exception of Oklahoma.

“The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma and its exclusive online casino software developer, Universal Entertainment Group, are working to finalize the international country-by-country gaming licensees and international merchant processing banking,” the press release said.

The tribe said that banking partners for the real-money site, which won’t be U.S.-facing at launch, will include Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.

In order to be in the U.S. states where online gambling is legal, the tribe’s platform would have to be approved in each jurisdiction. The tribe didn’t have to get an online gambling license from the state of Oklahoma because the state doesn’t have them and because of tribal sovereignty.

Iowa Tribal Chairman Bobby Walkup said that the tribe is “pleased with the progress” made so far towards building “a new type of government relationship.”

“We have completed each phase thoroughly and precisely. The final phase is the most important for a successful launch with the real-money play, which is why we are rescheduling our launch date,” Walkup said.

Earlier this year, the tribe had a federal judge certify a ruling that allowed it to proceed with an online casino. Under the compact with Oklahoma, the tribe will pay a portion of its online gaming revenue to the state.

Online poker for real money has only been legalized in three U.S. states—Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware. The Garden State is currently working out a plan to share liquidity with the United Kingdom.