Tribes Take a Look at Online Gaming

Internet gambling has been a hot topic this year ever since the seizure of four poker sites and the indictment of 11 executives connected with the internet gambling operations. US authorities also seized one internet bingo site and forced the World Bingo Network in Costa Rica to close their extensive internet bingo operations. Despite the actions by US authorities most gaming experts believe that the United States will legalize internet gambling sometime in the near future. Several gambling operators are exploring the possibility of partnerships with established internet gaming operators. According to several gambling news sources Foxwoods is close to entering a deal with Sportingbet a well known British online gaming operator.

London based EGR Magazine, a magazine covering the online gambling industry, reported that the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, the owners of Foxwoods, has partnered with Sportingbet and plan to launch a free online poker site “ahead of exploring options for real-money poker and casino.” A Foxwoods spokesman could not confirm the reports. In a statement Bill Satti, the public relations director for the tribe stated “The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation has been investigating the possibilities of Internet gaming given the significant momentum and discussion it has garnered recently in the U.S. As part of this, representatives of Mashantucket have spoken with numerous major Internet gaming companies worldwide to understand the business and analyze partnership opportunities, but will not comment on any of those discussions.”

Mohegan Sun, which is owned by the Mohegan tribe, has been talking to internet gambling companies. Chuck Bunnell, the Mohegan Tribe’s chief of staff stated “We have had and continue to have” talks with online gaming companies. He added “I think the entire industry is looking at what’s happening in Europe and in the U.S. as it tries to craft legislation to clearly legalize Internet gaming. Part of our due diligence is to prepare for that possibility.”

Online gambling has been illegal since 2006 when congress passed ill advised anti online gambling legislation. Gambling statistics show that despite the ban millions of Americans still gamble online. Online gambling is legal in Europe and most of the world. Congress has been considering legislation that would regulate online gambling and the tribes are trying to position themselves to obtain online gambling licenses when they become available. In 2006 Sportingbet said it would comply with US gambling laws and banned American players from its poker site Paradise Poker. The tribes are preparing for the inevitable legalization of internet gambling in the United States.