Pope County Quorum Court discusses casino ordinance with community

Local News

POPE COUNTY, Ark. – Casino gambling is legal in Arkansas but Jefferson and Pope will have to build from the ground up before they can go all in.

However, some people in Pope County are hedging their bets.

On Tuesday, an open forum was held to figure out what the best casino would be for the county if and when it’s approved.

Some people said having a casino in Pope County will bring more jobs and tourist.

Others said it’s going to cost taxpayers more money.

The meeting was about the so-called “local control ordinance.”

“The purpose of the ordinance is simply for the quorum court or county judge to decide on whom they think would be the best casino to come to Pope County if it did. They are not required to put one forward,“ Travis Story said.

Travis Story is the attorney for the Citizens of Pope County. He’s the author behind the ordinance.

”We want local control, we want to know what would be coming to Pope County in the form of a casino,” Story said.

But not everyone’s sold.

“I have lived in communities where they had casinos in the past. I’ve seen the consequences of it and family finances dealing with alcohol consumption,” James Harbert said.

“I personally like the Hard Rock option and the reason being it will bring concerts and tourism,” Tami Alexander said.

Pope County Judge Ben Cross said he’s already met with 5 applicants but doesn’t have a time frame on selecting a vendor.

“The quorum court and myself are citing with the voters on how they voted in November, so as of right now there will be no resolution from the quorum court and no letter of support from me until there is some mechanism in place to show that the voters have changed their mind,” Judge Cross said.

Judge Cross said the quorum court would have to draft an ordinance title and it would have to be read 3 consecutive times in quorum court meetings before moving forward.

The vote could come in November.

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