Tribe in Oklahoma gets online poker license

The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma is preparing to launch an online poker site after successfully obtaining an internet gambling license from the Isle of Man.

The Iowa tribe announced last week that its internet gaming company Ioway Internet Gaming Enterprise Limited was granted a license from the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Committee. The Isle of Man is located in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland. It also licenses PokerStars as well as a number of other online gambling sites.

After securing the license, the Iowa tribe can now launch a real-money online poker site from its lands in Perkins, Oklahoma. The Iowa tribe already operates a pair of bricks-and-mortar casinos in Oklahoma and is the first native American tribe to gain an international online gambling license and to attempt to launch its own online poker site. The tribe announced it expects the site to go live sometime later this fall under the domain name PokerTribe.com.

“The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma is proud to be the first Native American tribe to secure an international online gaming license,” Iowa tribe chairman Bobby Walkup said in a release. “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.”

Arbitrator’s decision paved the way for license

The tribe has planned to enter the online poker industry for a number of years, but a battle with the Oklahoma government over the issue slowed its progress. The fight was finally settled by an arbitrator in 2015. The arbitrator declared in his decision that the Iowa tribe could offer gambling games approved under its current gambling compact online from its lands within the state to international players and to players within the United States in jurisdictions where online gambling is legal. The arbitrator’s decision was certified by the federal district court just last year.

Despite the decision giving the Iowa tribe the ability to offer online poker to legalized states such as New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware, it announced it will not be doing so with the Isle of Man license. Instead, it will only offer its platform to international players when the site launches later this year.