It's a black eye for blackjack at Oklahoma's Indian gaming halls. Last week, The National Indian Gaming Commission sent a letter to all the Oklahoma tribes warning them the game might run afoul of state law.
So, some gaming facilities are throwing in the cards. News on Six reporter Steve Berg says, as many people know, under Oklahoma law, you can't bet against the house in blackjack.
Many Indian gaming halls in Oklahoma play a tournament style of blackjack, where the players play against each other. But apparently, there's some gray area on what's considered playing against the house, and what's not.
For example, at the local Creek Nation gaming hall at 81st and Riverside, the hall takes a portion of all the blackjack player's bets, and that goes into an escrow account, which is used for the grand prize. Or we should say that's what they "used" to do.
Even though they say their national office told them that they "were" in compliance with Oklahoma law, they decided it wasn't worth the gamble, and they've gotten rid of the game completely. Creek Nation Chief Perry Beavers, "Rather than sayin', justifyin' it like this, we'd just as soon take it out and not have a controversy."
The Creek nation says blackjack was about 20% of their business and growing. They say they hope the state will open up Class 3 gaming someday soon, that's full, Vegas-style casinos.
Incidentally the Cherokee gaming hall still has "its" tournament blackjack for the time being.