Arkansas judge rejects Cherokee Nation’s casino licence

Arkansas had approved four locations for land-based gambling venues in 2018.
Arkansas had approved four locations for land-based gambling venues in 2018.

Judge Tim Fox of Pulaski County Circuit Court found Arkansas officials “unconstitutionally” granted Cherokee Nation Businesses a casino licence.

US.- On Thursday last week (January 12) Timothy Fox, Pulaski County Magistrate Judge, ruled that the Cherokee Nation Businesses and Legends Resort and Casino licenses were invalid.

The judge ruled against the decision to licence the companies, claiming it infringed the Arkansas constitution. He also believed that Legends Resort and Casino was not suitable for a licence due to its lack of casino gaming experience.

The suit was filed by Gulfside Casino Partnership, another contender for the state’s fourth casino. First, Gulfside received a licence in 2020. However, shortly thereafter, their licence was deemed invalid. 

According to the Arkansas Supreme Court, the company obtained its licence using a letter of support from a Pope County judge who was no longer in office at the time.

The Arkansas Racing Commission has since decided to award the licence to the Cherokee Nation Enterprises/Legends Resort and Casino in late 2021. However, this did not end the competition for Gulfside, which challenged the committee’s decision.

In 2018, Arkansas voters approved amending the state constitution to permit one casino each in the counties of Pope, Jefferson, Garland, and Crittenden. The measure was largely funded by the Cherokee Nation Businesses (CNB), a wholly owned conglomerate of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, and the Downstream Development Authority of the Quapaw Tribe, also of Oklahoma.

The proposed $225m Cherokee Nation Pope County casino resort would have 1,100 slot machines, 32 table games and 200 hotel rooms located near Russellville, northwest of Little Rock, the state capital, in northwest Arkansas.

See also: Arkansas sports betting handle hits new record in November

Chuck Garrett, Cherokee Nation Businesses’ CEO, said the court’s decision was disappointing and added the company will file an appeal with the Arkansas Supreme Court.

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gambling regulation Land-based casinos