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Pulaski County Circuit Judge Strikes Down the Casino License of Cherokee Nation Businesses in Pope County, Arkansas

A local judge ruled against the license that was received by the Cherokee Nation Businesses and Legends Resort and Casino for the fourth casino in the state back in 2021.

As previously reported by CasinoGamesPro, the state of Arkansas gave the green light to four brick-and-mortar gambling venues under the provisions of a 2018 constitutional amendment. While casinos have already been built on three of the locations, there has been a lengthy legal battle for the fourth casino set to be situated in Pope County.

As part of the preparation for its casino operations there, the Cherokee Nation Businesses purchased 180 acres of land in Pope County. Unfortunately, the casino project has been put on hold by a legal battle that challenged the operating permit received by the fellowship of Cherokee Nation Businesses and Legends Resorts and Casino as its partner.

According to a media report, the Pulaski County Circuit Judge Timothy Fox recently ruled against the casino license held by the two aforementioned companies. Several days ago, the judge ruled to void the Arkansas gambling regulatory body’s decision to award the partners an operating permit for the casino, saying that it violated the constitution of the state of Arkansas. Furthermore, Judge Fox also ruled that Legends Resort and Casino was unsuitable to hold a casino license given the fact that it had no experience in running a casino gaming business.

Gulfside Casino Partnership Was the Candidate That Got the Initial Casino License Approval

The lawsuit regarding the awarded casino operating permit was filed by another applicant in the competition for the fourth casino license in Arkansas – Gulfside Casino Partnership – which was the one that initially secured the permit in 2020. However, shortly after the company was granted the much-desired authorization to build and operate a casino venue in Pope County, the license was deemed not valid.

At the time, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that Gulfside Casino Partnership’s application was backed with a support letter from the previous Pope County judge who had not been in office at the time when the application was filed, and the candidates for the license were supposed to present a letter of support from the judge who was in office at the time of the competition. Following these revelations, the local gambling regulatory body – the Arkansas Racing Commission – made a decision to grant the casino operating permit to Cherokee Nation Businesses and its partner Legends Resort and Casino almost at the end of 2021.

This, however, did not put an end to the fierce legal battle between the two companies, with Gulfside Casino Partnership opposing the decision of the gambling watchdog.

After the ruling of the Pulaski County Circuit Judge, the legal representative of Gulfside Casino Partnership, Lucas Rowan, noted that the company is still willing to develop the fourth casino in Arkansas in Pope County. Mr. Rowan explained that the new casino is expected to bring many economic benefits and create new jobs.

The chief executive officer of Cherokee Nation Businesses, Chuck Garrett, shared that the court’s decision was disappointing. He said that the company was already considering taking the next step, which is to appeal the decision with the Arkansas Supreme Court.

 Author: Harrison Young

Harrison Young is an experienced writer, who started his career almost 8 years ago. Prior to joining our team at CasinoGamesPro, he worked as an editor for a small magazine.