Pope County casino license application period opened by Racing Commission

Local News

Little Rock, Ark. – Multiple lawsuits have been filed regarding the future of casinos in Pope County. This comes after the state’s Racing Commission met Thursday. 

From a meeting room in Little Rock, decisions are being made for the future of the casino in Pope County. 

“Our commitment to Cherokee Nation Businesses is just as strong as theirs is to Pope County,” Judge Ben Cross said to the commissioners. 

Despite Pope County Judge Ben Cross putting his support behind the Cherokee Nation Businesses – Legends Casino, the Racing Commission isn’t ready to place its bet yet. 

Instead, it opened the application process for another 90 days. Essentially opening the door to other casinos despite Judge Cross’s and his court’s adamant stance. 

“As far as I’m concerned, Pope County is done with the issue,” Judge Cross said. 

At least one casino isn’t, Gulfside Casino Partnership has letters of support from the previous Pope County Judge and Russellville Mayor. It is suing the Racing Commission after its application was denied, and denied again, on appeal. 

“We believe we have the strongest proposal among all the applicants but we believe we should be awarded a letter or resolution, but that’s obviously up to the officials in Pope County,” Gulfside Casino Partnership’s attorney Casey Castleberry said.

At this point, we don’t know what casino company will ultimately win, but it’s more than a game, or roll of the dice, for the racing commission. 

There has been a second lawsuit filed. It’s from the group that opposed a casino in Pope County, against the quorum court. 

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