The federally-recognized Iowa Tribe Of Oklahoma has reportedly signed a deal that will see it invest $10 million in a Florida software development firm for the launch of an international online gaming website due to be christened PokerTribe.com.
According to a report from The Oklahoman newspaper, the tribe explained that the aboriginal-owned and real-money gambling domain is set to be the first of its kind when it launches early next year and is being developed in partnership with Miami-based Universal Entertainment Group.
The newspaper reported that the site was originally scheduled to go live in August but has been delayed as the Oklahoma tribe and Universal Entertainment Group progress through the many stages of obtaining an online gaming license from the Isle Of Man Gambling Supervision Commission.
Despite the setbacks, Bobby Walkup, Chairman for the Iowa Tribe Of Oklahoma Business Committee, told the newspaper that the online gaming domain is set to be a financial boon to the 800-member tribe.
“I don’t envy some of the tribes coming behind us that will have to do this,” Walkup told The Oklahoman. “There are a lot of steps and pieces to the puzzle.”
For its investment, the Perkins-based tribe is to reportedly receive a 51% stake in Universal Entertainment Group while Fereidoun Khalilian, a consultant for Universal Entertainment Group, told the newspaper that the company wants to make sure PokerTribe.com is working properly before being publically launched.
“We want to make sure that the tribe is going to launch this the right way,” Khalilian told The Oklahoman. “We don’t want it to launch and then it gets shut down.”
Khalilian moreover revealed that Christina Fallin, who is the daughter Oklahoma’s Republican governor Mary Fallin, has been working as a consultant for Universal Entertainment Group in hopes of inking deals that would see airlines offer in-flight gaming via PokerTribe.com.
Universal Entertainment Group announced in May that World Poker Fund Holdings Incorporated had signed a deal to purchase a 49% stake in its business for $8.9 million but this agreement fell through after only four months with the Californian firm stating that it had decided “not to move forward on the funding or to close the transaction due to further due diligence”.
The Oklahoman reported that the Iowa Tribe Of Oklahoma won an arbitration ruling with the state late last year for Internet gaming to be covered under its tribal gaming compact although the terms of this agreement will see Oklahoma residents unable to enjoy the services set to be offered by PokerTribe.com.
Universal Entertainment Group reportedly received $9.5 million from the Cheyenne And Arapaho Tribes to develop the similarly-named PokerTribes.com domain but this site never got off the ground after becoming mired in litigation with the United States Department Of The Interior. In 2014, the Concho-based tribe finally shelved the online gaming venture citing a “shift in business and tribal strategy and philosophy”.
In the meantime, Universal Entertainment Group recently declared that it is seeking an “international female spokesperson” to help promote PokerTribe.com following its launch and listed prerequisites that included “she needs to be a “ten” and free to travel worldwide”.