The casino licensing process in Pope County will remain unresolved by the end of 2019, as the state’s gambling regulator decided to delay the decision on the issue to the upcoming year.
Yesterday, the Arkansas Racing Commission preferred to take no further action on the matter until its next meeting that is to be held in 2020. The decision followed a hearing of a casino applicant who is taking the commission to court for its failure to take its application filed earlier in 2019 into consideration. So, the state’s gambling watchdog is to once again consider whether to issue a legal permit for a casino in Pope County or to postpone further action on the matter for now.
For the time being, as CasinoGamesPro has already announced, there are only two applicants for a casino operating license in Pope County – the Choctaw Nation Businesses and the Cherokee Nation Businesses. Both of them filed their casino license applications during the second round of the application process that closed on November 18th, 2019 after the first round failed.
The legal action against the Arkansas Racing Commission has been filed by Gulfside Casino Partnership that argues it was the only applicant who was eligible for receiving a casino operating license during the first round of applications so that a second round should have never been held. As previously explained, Gulfside participated in the first round of application and presented letters of support but it was never taken into consideration, so the second round of application was held.
Pope County Residents Remain Divided on Casino License Issue
Yesterday’s announcement has marked another delay for the casino gambling application process that Pope County residents were hoping to avoid this time.
According to some of them, the issue should be resolved as quickly as possible because the delays lead to money losses for the county, which needs to develop in line with the progress in the casino gambling market. As some of them believe, such delays would only affect the county, as it remains stagnant rather than taking advantage of the development in the sector.
The thing is that Pope County residents have strong opinions on both sides, both for and against casino licensing. In any case, they insist that the local regulatory body needs to resolve the issue without further delay by making sure that the constitution is followed. As mentioned above, the Arkansas Racing Commission’s next meeting is scheduled for January 6th.
Scott Hardin, a spokesman of the watchdog has revealed that another factor may be taken into consideration at the next meeting because it would mark 30 business days since the completion of the application process. As he reminded, part of the rules that apply to the Commission’s work require the gambling regulator to issue a license within 30 days from the completion of the application process.