Arkansas: Cherokee Nation submits casino operation license application in Pope County

June 6, 2024
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The Tribe has tried to gain the green light for several years.

Cherokee Nation Entertainment recently turned in an application to Pope County, Arkansas to operate a casino in the area, according to a local report in the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

The company turned in the license application to the state’s Department of Finance and Administration.

Company President Mark Fulton told local news that the application process has been a lengthy one.

He went on to add that the submission is “the latest step in a process that has gone on for over five years now."

The Tribe has experienced a series of legal setbacks in recent months.

Last fall, the Arkansas Supreme Court denied the Cherokee Nation’s casino bid for its Legends Resort and Casino. The court ruled against the Tribe in a 5 to 2 decision.

The Cherokee Nation’s bid involved building a $225m casino on its property in Russellville, Arkansas, which the Nation purchased for $35m.

In addition to denying the Tribe a casino license, The Arkansas Supreme Court upheld a decision in the lower court that said allowing the commission to award a Pope County casino license to Legends Resort and Casino and Cherokee Nation Businesses “is in violation of the Arkansas Constitution’s Amendment 100.”

However, the Tribe was previously approved for a casino license by the Arkansas Racing Commission.

The Cherokee Nation has also received support from Pope County Judge Ben Cross, who released a letter stating he is in favor of the Cherokee Nation receiving a casino license from the Arkansas Racing Commission, despite previous rulings against an awarded license.

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