Chickasaw Nation Launches European-Facing Online Gambling Site

The Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma has launched a real-money online gambling site under the Winstar brand, open to a number of European countries. Chickasaw Nation owns nearly 20 casinos in Oklahoma, the Winstar World Casino and Resort being the largest. Winstar.com will offer various online gambling games like slots, video poker, and blackjack, but unfortunately, not poker.

The launch of the online gaming site was announced in a brief mention in GAN’s year-end financials, though of course Europeans who happened to visit winstar.com could have found out on their own:

In Europe, the identity of GAN’s client for the Overseas Internet Casino can now be confirmed as the major Native American US casino operator Chickasaw Nation. The Overseas Internet Casino launched for the Chickasaw Nation was delivered in H2 2017 and is now available in regulated European markets at www.WinStar.com.

The site will operate on a platform provided by GAN, the Game Account Network. The Chickasaw Nation had already partnered with GAN to provide play money online poker last spring. GAN has been a fairly popular turn-key software provider for a number of casino providers over the last few years, including the likes of Parx Casino, Maryland Live! Casino, Turning Stone Resort Casino, and Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. It has also entered into a partnership with the Ocean Casino in Atlantic City, the new name of the former Revel Casino, which is set to re-open this year.

According to Flushdraw.net, Winstar real-money poker is licensed in Alderney and is currently available to people in Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and a few other European nations, but those in the quartet of ringfenced countries – France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy – cannot play on the site.

Of course, the big question here is whether or not Winstar.com will actually attract any customers. One would think that the brand, though big in Oklahoma, has little to no recognition in Europe, so just finding the gambling site will be a task for people across the pond. On top of that, even if people do discover it, would there really be an incentive for people to play on the site? There are loads of reputable, visible gaming sites available in Europe, so why should someone ever try Winstar?

A Flushdraw points out, the tribal sovereignty issue could be a problem, as well:

One question can not be answered fully as of yet, and that’s the sovereignty issue regarding the US’s tribal casinos that has added significant complications to the legalized online-gambling debate in the States. European-based casinos have very little reason to plunk down large deposits on a Winstar-branded site that has little or not brand recognition on the Euro side of the pond. That incentive diminishes even more if US tribes insist on sovereignty regarding consumer disputes, which means that aggrieved customers would have to file a complaint in an Oklahoma tribal court if any such problems arose.

Winstar does have a couple things going for it, though. As it only offers casino games and not poker, it won’t have the problem of attracting players that no-name poker sites have. A lack of traffic to a poker site makes it unattractive for potential customers, as there is no action at the tables. But a lack of traffic to a casino site doesn’t pose this problem, as players only compete against the house and don’t need others at the table. Additionally, by partnering with GAN, the Chickasaw Nation potentially saved a lot of time and expense over developing its own gaming solution in-house.

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