An Oklahoma Indian tribe is breaking new ground in the North American tribal gaming market by launching an international online poker site.

According to the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, which is located located in the central part of the state and has about 800 members, is shooting for a 2016 launch date for

The site will initially offer poker games to international players, as well as residents of New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware and would run on a platform provided by Universal Entertainment Group (UEG). Tribal officials say that plans are in the works to offer blackjack, pull tabs, and other casino games in the near future.

As the Iowa press forward this venture, they’ll be charting new territory for the American tribal gaming industry, and they’ll be doing it with the blessing of the Oklahoma legal system.

Late last year, the Oklahoma Cheyene and Arapaho Tribes attempted to launch the same site, but their plan to share revenue from the project ran afoul of the Department of Interior (DOI). The DOI, which has jurisdiction over tribal gaming, said the plan required changes to the tribal gaming compact. At that point, the interested parties walked away from the deal.

When the Cheyene and Arapaho Tribes dropped out, UEG approached the Iowa with the deal, which received approval from an Oklahoma arbitrator who said:

…use of the Internet is merely using technology to play covered games as a way to increase tribal revenues. It does not extend or restrict the scope of the games and does not amend the compact in any way.

When it goes live, will be the first online gambling operation from a US tribal gaming interest.

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