POKERTRIBE.COM TRIBE TO BUY CONTROLLING INTEREST IN SOFTWARE COMPANY
Fereidoun "Fred" Khalilian reveals details of a $10 million, 51 percent acquisition of his Universal Entertainment Group.
The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma is to acquire a controlling 51 percent interest in its Pokertribe.com software partner, Fred Khalilian's Universal Entertainment Group, for $10 million according to a report in the Oklahoman newspaper, quoting the notorious entrepreneur.
Approached by the newspaper, the tribe's chairman, Billy Walkup, confirmed the $10 million price tag for a majority stake in the company, but declined to disclose further details.
Our readers will recall that the tribe originally hired UEG to assist it in developing an on-reservation online poker operation targeting players outside the USA.
After initial opposition from state officials and a court case, the tribe was given the go ahead for Pokertribe.com in 2015, but real-money implementation has been repeatedly delayed due to international licensing and payment problems and is now not expected to take place until next year.
UEG and the tribe are currently seeking licensing from the Isle of Man, and claim that the "complexities of the process have slowed the launch of the website".
UEG and Khalilian was previously involved in a similar $9.5 million Pokertribe project with the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, which ran into technical and legal problems with the US Department of the Interior and was abandoned in 2014 by the tribe.
Khalilian, who has a colorful and varied business history, was involved earlier this year in a $8.9 million move on social gaming company World Poker Fund Holdings. In September the company filed an advisory noting that it had decided "not to move forward on the funding or to close the transaction due to further due diligence."
The Oklahoman reports that Khalilian has run afoul of the Federal Trade Commission twice in past business ventures involving a questionable vehicle warranty scheme and a travel marketing scam.
Both failures involved millions of dollars in losses for consumers but eventual FTC-mandated refunds were made. Khalilian was banned from telemarketing or from "making any misrepresentations or omissions when selling any goods or services" as part of the final court order in the latter case.
Khalilian was also banned by a court order from telemarketing vacation travel packages following another FTC action involving questionable travel marketing.
He was also involved in a failed nightclub venture with socialite Paris Hilton, the newspaper reports.