While poker regulation efforts have stalled in California, one Oklahoma Indian Tribe is moving forward with plans to open its own online poker site.
According to NewsOk.com, the Iowa Tribe has inked a deal to purchase a majority share in Universal Gaming Group and is in the process of getting licensed to operate PokerTribe.com.
Iowa Tribe Spends $10 Million for 51% Stake
According to the article, the Perkins-based tribe has a deal in place to pay $10 million for a 51% stake in Universal Entertainment Group (UEG). UEG had initially agreed to a deal with World Poker Fund Holdings, Inc back in May for 49% of the company, but that deal was never completed.
Bobby Walkup, Iowa Tribe Chairman, confirmed that the deal was in place to become majority owner in UEG but he declined to provide further details.
PokerTribe to Serve International Customers Only
The Iowa Tribe intends to launch PokerTribe.com sometime in early 2017 and will offer real-money online poker play to customers. The site is touting itself as the first online gaming ventured owned by an Indian Tribe.
This claim is actually false. The Pala Band of Mission Indians in California presently operates PalaCasino out of New Jersey. PokerTribe.com will be the first international online gambling site owned by a tribe.
Players in the United States will not be allowed to play on the site.
PokerTribe Launch Delayed Due to Licensing Process
The launch of PokerTribe has already been delayed twice, the most recent being in August. According to Walkup the complexities of applying for a gaming license has slowed the process.
UEG and the Iowa Tribe are currently in the final stages of applying for a license from the Isle of Man. According to Walkup, "I don't envy some of the tribes coming behind us that will have to do this. There are a lot of steps and pieces to the puzzle."
Should it receive approval for the license PokerTribe would be licensed to operate in dozens of foreign nations. Walkup believes that despite the delays the site will prove to be a financial boon for the Iowa Tribe.