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Online Casinos in Oklahoma and Gambling Laws


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While gambling is alive and well in Oklahoma, most of it is currently operated by Native American tribes, as commercial casinos are not a part of the market. In fact, it was only fairly recently that any gaming came here, as the government held out far longer than most, even in regulating the most popular forms of betting, such as lotteries and horse racing.

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Federal Intervention Stops Online Gaming Plan

Given what we’ve talked about above – or perhaps even just your general impressions – you would be forgiven for thinking that Oklahoma would be one of the last places in the country that would allow some form of online gambling to be regulated here. But, in fact, the government once entered into a compact with the local tribes that expressly allowed online poker.

That occurred in 2013, when the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes reached an agreement with officials that would allow them to run a website known as PokerTribes.com. It wasn’t an exciting breakthrough for poker fans here: the move would only have allowed the tribes to offer online gambling to international jurisdictions where real money casinos were legal.

However, the site never quite got off the ground. The federal government intervened to put a stop to the compact in early 2014, ostensibly due to issues with the fairness of the agreement. The tribes fought that move, but eventually decided to simply stop any plans to offer games through the site, though they have the framework in place in order to later offer them down the line should they gain approval.

That, of course, doesn’t mean that the state would ever allow Internet gaming to be offered within its own borders, and so far, there has been little to no movement in that direction. However, that hasn’t stopped many players from using overseas sites. Since Oklahoma is a grey market, many reputable companies offer their services there, and with no penalties for players who participate, there is still a thriving online industry.

Tribal Plan Could Resurface

Going forward, one issue is about to be reexamined in the Sooner State: online gambling could once again be offered overseas from the lands of Native American tribes. In late 2015, the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma won a decision from an arbitrator that said their plan to offer a site similar to the one envisioned by the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes does not violate any federal or state laws; a federal judge then certified that ruling, and the tribes now plans to launch the games to foreign markets in 2016.

That decision could lead other tribes to do the same thing, perhaps sparking a mini iGaming boom for Native Americans in Oklahoma While the revenue would likely be relatively limited, at least at first, it could end up inspiring tribes in other parts of America to make similar moves, something that could potentially turn the online gaming industry in the United States on its head.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that Oklahomans should expect such options to come their way anytime soon. As we mentioned earlier, there aren’t any signs that the government here wants to regulate online casinos within its borders, and they may just see tribal groups doing so as a fair business deal: if they can find willing markets for their games over the web, then so be it. But even this unusual arrangement has to give some hope to gamblers in the state, as it probably won’t be too long before

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