Oklahoma Tribes to End Fight to Operate Poker Website

Posted on February 18th, 2014 by Todd Wilkins

Oklahoma Tribes to End Fight to Operate Poker WebsiteOklahoma’s Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes have apparently decided not to continue pursuing legal action in order to operate PokerTribes.com.

The tribes opened the free-play gambling site in June, 2012, but it was shut down by Oklahoma authorities in April, 2013 due to being in violation of a state-tribal compact agreement. Following the website’s closure, Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal leaders brokered a deal with Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin to operate the website for real-money to international customers, but prohibiting Oklahoma residents and players in other states to participate.

Before the website got off the ground for real-money, the Department of Interior stepped in last November and told Oklahoma officials that they had no right to allow the tribes to offer services to an exclusive market located outside of the U.S. In December, the tribe took the matter to federal court in Oklahoma City in an effort to stop federal officials from interfering.

The Cheyenne and Arapaho tribe swore in a new governor last month despite struggling over a government that remains divided. Rollin Eddie Hamilton has taken over as the tribe’s new governor. Hamilton published an open letter earlier this month in the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal Tribune in which he told of the decision to terminate pursuit of the PokerTribes.com international gaming endeavor.

Hamilton nixed the deal that his predecessor had established with Universal Entertainment Group, the company that set up PokerTribes.com. The lawsuit versus the Dept. of Interior is still active in the courts although no hearing dates are currently scheduled. Hamilton has divulged plans to drop the federal lawsuit as well, the Native American Times reported.

The site still announces that online gaming is Coming Soon and that PokerTribes.com will be the First International Real-Time, Real-Money Online Casino.

The Cheyenne and Arapaho are about 12,000 strong and operate four casinos within Oklahoma. Over $9 million was reportedly spent in hopes of operating PokerTribes.com as a gaming website located on sovereign land and catering to a player base outside of the U.S.

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