Oklahoma Settles Dispute with Tribes over Online Gambling
Prior to this, state officials had warned the tribes that their gambling compacts with the state do not envisage the operation of such a site, which was agreed on at the talks where the settlement was reached, said State Governor Mary Fallin's general counsel, Steve Mullins.
"It was a misunderstanding," he said. "They came to the table, and they worked with us until we could get it resolved. They've been good partners on that."
Furthermore, he specified that the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes which operate the Lucky Star Casino at Concho and at Clinton, would be allowed to operate an Internet gaming site from outside the United States, in return for paying fees to Oklahoma.
According to Lisa Liebl, spokeswoman for the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, the agreement effectively shuts down the tribe's free online social gaming network in exchange for an agreement that the tribe be allowed to operate the site internationally.
"The Tribes plan to bring this exciting new product to the international market in the very near future," she said, adding that this interpretation applies to the other tribes that have tribal gaming compacts with Oklahoma.
Mullins expanded on this, saying that "Internet gaming is improper in Oklahoma. We basically are saying we will not expand gaming in Oklahoma on the Internet."
He also added that the governor's office, which is responsible for enforcing gaming compacts, was notified shortly after the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes launched their gaming site and began talks with tribal officials, noting: "We don't want this area to be ambiguous. We want it to be very clear that Oklahoma is saying you may not Internet game in Oklahoma."
In conclusion, Mullins expressed joy about the agreement because the state would have been forced to start enforcement action against the tribe had the settlement not been reached.
He noted that no fines will be imposed for the time the site was operating because tribal officials didn't believe they were violating the compact.
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