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Arkansas Casino Opponents Campaign to Get rid of Pope County License

Arkansas Casino Opponents Campaign to Get rid of Pope County License

Arkansas Casino Opponents Campaign to Eliminate Pope County License

Posted on: October 26, 2021, 12:44h.&nbsp

Final updated on: October 25, 2021, 06:36h.

Arkansas legalized industrial gambling by way of a statewide ballot referendum in the course of the November 2018 election. Virtually 3 many years later, one of the 4 counties afforded casino privileges is seemingly nowhere shut to issuing the allow to an interested developer.

Arkansas casino Pope County
Fair Play for Arkansas desires to repeal a 2018 statewide vote that allows a casino to be created in Pope County. Neighborhood county voters rejected the question throughout the election. (Picture: Honest Perform for Arkansas)

Gambling opponents in Arkansas feel they have a solution — annul the gaming license allocated for Pope County. Honest Perform for Arkansas is the committee behind the effort.

Pope County citizens do not want a casino,” Fair Perform for Arkansas explained in a Facebook post last week.

The social media comment followed the Arkansas Supreme Court throwing much more legal confusion into the chaos surrounding which of two resort proposals ought to be granted the Pope County casino rights.

Two Judges, One particular Casino

The 2018 ballot gaming question asked Arkansans if they wished to allow the two pari-mutuel racinos in Garland and Crittenden counties to transition into complete-scale casinos with slot machines and table games. The referendum moreover authorized two new gaming resorts in Pope and Jefferson counties.

Arkansans passed Problem four by a vote of % to 45.9 percent. Right now, slots, table video games, and sportsbooks are working at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort and Southland Casino — the two former racinos — plus, in Jefferson, at the Saracen Casino Resort.

Jefferson County officials chosen the Downstream Advancement Authority as its casino partner. Downstream is a subsidiary of the Quapaw Nation of Oklahoma and owns Saracen.

Arkansas’ gaming law for the Pope and Jefferson licenses required support from the county’s sitting judge.

In late 2018, then-Pope County Judge Ed Gibson signed off on a casino pitch from Gulfside Casino Partnership, an LLC managed by two Mississippi riverboat businessmen. But following Gibson’s phrase expired at the finish of 2018, new Pope County Judge Ben Cross backed yet another casino pitch from the Cherokee Nation Organizations (CNB), which is owned by Oklahoma’s Cherokee Nation.

The Gulfside pitch is a $254 million undertaking that would consist of a 500-space hotel and 80,000-square-foot casino with 1,900 slot machines and 90 table video games. The Cherokee prepare is a $225 million investment featuring a 200-room hotel and 50,000-square-foot casino with 1,200 slots and 32 table games.

Judges have differed on which program should win the Pope County license. That lead to the Arkansas Supreme Court last week opining that only the CNB strategy is valid, as it has the endorsement of the present sitting county judge.

The Arkansas Racing Commission, which was originally tasked with identifying which pitch ought to be deemed the winner, added a lot more drama to the saga when it was determined that one of its commissioners — Butch Rice — had a bias in grading the Gulfside pitch a perfect one hundred/one hundred, but only 29/one hundred factors for CNB.

Locals Oppose, State Supports

A vast majority of Arkansans in 2018 signed off on bringing business casinos to the state. But locally, Pope County residents soundly rejected the gambling movement.

Of the 75 counties in Arkansas, only eleven rejected the gaming concern. 1 was Pope, the place virtually 61 % of voters said they did not assistance legalizing gambling. None of the 10 other counties that voted towards the referendum did so as strongly as Pope voters.

Regardless, Pope County was written into the Arkansas Constitution as a single of four counties exactly where gambling is legal.

We deserve what 71 other counties in Arkansas appreciate: the freedom to live without having a controversial gambling advancement forced on us,” Fair Play declared. The organization is collecting signatures in hopes of passing an additional amendment that would get rid of Pope County from getting permitted casino gambling.