(Estimated population as of 2013 — 3,850,568)
Did you know Oklahoma attempted to offer online poker to international players? Well, it wasn’t the state per se, but rather then Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, owners of the Lucky Star Casino, via their website pokertribes.com, though the state agreed to let them in a gaming compact.
Still, at the beginning of this year the U.S. Department of the Interior stepped in and shut them down, which resulted in the tribes filling a lawsuit against Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn. Eventually the tribes pulled the plug on the website, but it still sits ready to go if and when they are given the green light.
“In Oklahoma, where the basis for entry into that lucrative worldwide market was laid in [Governor] Fallin’s compact, other tribes are searching for collaborations,” Patrick B. McGuigan said in The City Sentinel. “Like many other foreign interests, the tempo of involvement in state-side transactions in increasing.”
Basically what it boils down to is this... the Governor and Indian tribes agreed to offer iGaming to international consumers, but not to those in the U.S. Consequently, both would benefit while operating within the law. The federal government disagreed (some suggest at the behest of competing tribes) and stepped in, leaving things in a state of limbo.
“The transformational framework for online gaming – without bringing the poker-playing ability into the U.S. domestic market – still exists, awaiting a formal tribal partner from among Oklahoma’s 39 federally-recognized tribes,” McGuigan said. “And, make no mistake: If a simple reboot of the earlier accord does not come quickly, with a new partner for the state, an opportunity at billions of dollars in voluntary exchange – including a boost for state government revenues worth hundreds of millions of dollars, without a tax increase on the state population– will be lost.”
Oklahoma’s current stance on iGaming is interesting. Some tribes clearly have an interest, though they seemed focused solely on foreign markets. That doesn’t do those in the state much good. Still, the fact that Oklahoma is having iGaming conversations is a good thing, and if other states begin legalizing, you can bet the “Sooner State” will look to get in on the action.