The U.S. federal government is once again intervening in online poker. According to The Oklahoman, last month the U.S. Department of the Interior stopped the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, owners of the Lucky Star Casino in Concho, Okla., from offering online poker to international players through its website pokertribes.com, something the state agreed to in a gaming compact.
As a result the tribe filed a lawsuit against Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn in Oklahoma City last week. The tribe hopes a federal judge will prevent interference and allow the reestablishment of the website, which is currently inactive.
“It's pretty groundbreaking,” said Richard Grellner, an attorney representing the tribe. “In Oklahoma, we have the Native American culture we can sell to the world, and the state and the tribes can really benefit.”
According to Steve Mullins, general counsel for Governor Mary Fallin, the tribe has an agreement with the state that permits them to offer iGaming from tribal lands to international players. As a result, the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes have estimated they could make $132 million per year. The compact with the state would then dictate that:
- The state would receive 4% of the first $10 million in annual net revenue from electronic gaming;
- 5% of the next $10 million;
- 6% of any subsequent amount; and
- A monthly 10% from non-house banked card games such as poker.
The federal government intervened based on the fairness of the state compact, not necessarily due to the nature of online poker.
*Lead photo courtesy of all-flags-world.com.