Published September 25, 2017
PERKINS, OKLAHOMA – The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma has announced that a company owned by the Tribe and its internet gaming enterprise has secured a gaming license in the Isle of Man. Ioway Internet Gaming Enterprise Limited, an Isle of Man company, was issued an online gaming license by the IOM Gambling Supervision Commission on September 7, 2017. The license was secured by the Iowa Tribe a little less than two years after the tribe first announced its intent to operate an international online gaming website from its tribal lands located within the exterior borders of the State of Oklahoma.
Iowa Tribe Chairman Bobby Walkup said securing the gaming license in the Isle of Man was the last step necessary before the Iowa Tribe could begin exercising its rights under the gaming compact with the State of Oklahoma to operate an online poker site from Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma Indian country in Perkins, Oklahoma. The right to conduct such gaming was confirmed when an arbitrator sided with the Tribe in a dispute with the State of Oklahoma over the scope of gaming authorized under the gaming compact.
While the Iowa Tribe and its Isle of Man gaming company are not setting a specific launch date for the online poker site, known as PokerTribe.com, Walkup said PokerTribe.com will go live sometime this fall. Chairman Walkup said a major announcement will be made within the next two weeks concerning the sale of the software company jointly owned by the Tribe and Universal Entertainment Group to an internationally-recognized company.
“We are in the final stages of the sale and have been working diligently with Universal Entertainment Group to finalize the transfer of the online gaming assets, which includes the software license agreement, to the company that has an internationally-known brand,” Chairman Walkup said. “This new relationship will be beneficial to the Tribe and the new software owner as PokerTribe.com enters the international online gaming market.”
“The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma is proud to be the first Native American tribe to secure an international online gaming license,” Walkup said. “The process has taken longer than we may have envisioned when we began this journey, but, because we are a Native American tribe and held to higher gaming legal and regulatory standards, we had to ensure that we met all these standards.”
In November 2015, an arbitrator held that the Iowa Tribe could offer games approved under the Tribe’s compact with the State of Oklahoma over the internet from Iowa Tribe Indian country to players located outside the United States and within a jurisdiction where such internet gaming was lawful. A federal district court in Oklahoma City subsequently certified the arbitration award in April 2016.
“Following the federal court certification of the arbitration award,” Walkup said, “we believed that to comply with the arbitrator’s decision it would be necessary to obtain a license in one or more jurisdictions. After considerable research, we chose to secure our initial license in the Isle of Man.”
Walkup said representatives of the Iowa Tribe traveled to the Isle of Man in August 2016 and met with officials there to inquire into the licensing process. Upon returning from the Isle of Man, the Iowa Tribe and its internet gaming company incorporated Ioway Internet Gaming Enterprise Limited within the Isle of Man to secure the gaming license. The license application was submitted in February 2017. The application was approved on June 13, 2017 at a meeting of the Gambling Supervision Commission attended by a number of Iowa Tribe representatives.
According to Walkup, following the June meeting, the Gambling Commission issued a letter stating the application was approved but that four conditions had to be met prior to the actual issuance of the license. Once the four conditions were met, the Isle of Man gaming commission issued the license.
“While we are excited about receiving the license,” Walkup said, “we really do not have time to celebrate. Our attention has now turned to going live with PokerTribe.com.”
Chairman Walkup said the Iowa Tribe and the Isle of Man company are also planning to make an announcement within the next ten days of the hiring of a general manager who has extensive experience in international online gaming to oversee the launch of PokerTribe.com.