Sunday April 7, 2013 : OKLAHOMA TRIBAL DISPUTE WITH STATE OVER INTERNET GAMBLING SETTLED
Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes settle with state of Oklahoma by agreeing to take down Internet gaming site.
The stand-off between the state of Oklahoma and the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes over online gambling has been settled, with the tribes agreeing to take down an internet gaming site.
The site has been operation for several months, with tribal authorities arguing that it was permissible.
State officials had earlier warned the tribes that their gambling compacts with the state did not permit the operation of such a site, The Republic newspaper reports.
State Governor Mary Fallin's general counsel, Steve Mullins, told The Republic that talks with tribal authorities had culminated with an agreement Friday that the tribe's gaming compact with the state does not allow it to operate Internet gaming sites in Oklahoma or for that matter anywhere in the United States.
"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."
The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes operate the Lucky Star Casino at Concho and at Clinton, and would be allowed to operate an Internet gaming site from outside the United States, but the tribe still would have to pay fees to Oklahoma, Mullins told The Oklahoman newspaper.
Lisa Liebl, spokeswoman for the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, said 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," Liebl said in a statement.
The interpretation applies to the other tribes that have tribal gaming compacts with Oklahoma, she said.
"Internet gaming is improper in Oklahoma," Mullins said. "We basically are saying we will not expand gaming in Oklahoma on the Internet."
Mullins said 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.
"We don't want this area to be ambiguous," he said. "We want it to be very clear that Oklahoma is saying you may not Internet game in Oklahoma."
Mullins said the state would have had to start enforcement action against the tribe if tribal officials refused to take down the Internet gaming site.
The state didn't seek fines for the time the site was operating because tribal officials didn't believe they were violating the compact, he said.