An Oklahoma judge has finally given the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma the go signal to launch a gambling website for international players.
The ruling was handed down a month after the state of Oklahoma said it won’t stand in the way of the federally recognized Indian tribe, which plans to launch PokerTribe.com—an online gambling site that caters to customers outside of the United States.
The state then turned to an arbitrator to resolve the standoff, who, in turn, determined that the tribe’s plan to host an online gaming site doesn’t violate not only the compact, but other relevant laws as well.
The arbitrator concluded that using the Internet to conduct gambling is “permissible” in the contract, as long as “the games are controlled and operated by a computer server located on tribal lands,” the report stated.
In February, the tribe asked the court for a summary judgment with a goal of finally certifying the arbitrator’s decision. A month later, state officials told the federal court to go ahead and confirm the award because “there was no good cause to hold off on giving it the stamp of approval.”
The tribe finally got its wish last Friday, when U.S. District Judge David L. Russell granted its bid to confirm the arbitral award on grounds that there were “no genuine issues of material fact that preclude summary judgment in the tribe’s favor.”
Russell also pointed out that “the tribe had met its burden of showing there was no material fact that required judgment as a matter of law.”
The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma currently operates three casinos in the state of Oklahoma.
This isn’t the state’s first online gambling rodeo. In 2013, Oklahoma approved a similar request by the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribe of Oklahoma, but the federal Department of Indian Affairs objected to the plan based on their belief that the approval fell afoul of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). The tribes eventually abandoned their online ambitions following a change in tribal leadership.