The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation is entering a partnership with the UK-based GameAccount Network to develop an online gambling product centered on their Foxwoods Casino.

In the beginning, the partnership will be focusing on free-to-play offerings with a real-money version set to launch sometime in the future. Tribal leaders described the plan in an online press release saying:

In 2013, will launch a compelling virtual Internet gaming offering, future-proofed with an automatic upgrade path for real-money Internet gaming should regulation permit.

So far, efforts to legalize online casino game in Foxwoods’ home state of Connecticut have been derailed by anti-gambling reformers. (Though the state does allow online horse betting.)

In the absence of State legislation, it’s likely that the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation would have to wait for Federal legislation and that could be a very long time. Attempts to pass the Federal online gambling bill, known as Kyl-Reid, have floundered and it’s unclear when legislators might revisit the issue.

Tribal gaming is a huge x-factor in the American market and calling it a, “political football,” is something of an understatement.

As it stands today, smaller and remotely located tribes can’t really compete in the land-based market against tribes like the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. In the online world, however, tribes of any size will be able to compete on a fairly level playing field.

In short, expect to see lots more activity in this market space in the months ahead.

What kind of impact do you think tribal gaming will have on the American online market? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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