Application Process for New Casino License in Arkansas Begins in May

After years of waiting, it is definite that Arkansas decided to issue the fourth and final casino license. The operators will likely be able to apply in early May, and before that, the legislation should be approved.

New application process:

On Monday, March 11, the Racing Commission approved the rules that will help in organizing the application process and determine which operators are suitable. 

The application period will last for 30 days, and the new operator will most likely be able to offer its services in Pope County, where the new casino will be opened.

However, the Legislature hasn’t approved the rules yet, and it is expected that they’ll make their decision in April. The application process will have to be finished before the end of the summer, as the commissioners were notified by Doralee Chandler, a Deputy Attorney General.

After the Arkansas Casino Gaming Amendment of 2018 passed, the state’s government allowed the opening of four casinos. After the advocates voted in favor of allowing casino gambling in the state, the racetrack in West Memphis (Southland) and casino in Hot Springs (Oaklawn) were opened to the public.

The third license was granted to Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff, located in Jefferson County, because of the Quapaw Nation’s strong local support. 

The long journey towards the fourth casino:

However, when the time came to determine who would get the fourth license, the issues began. This isn’t the first time the government tried to grant the license for Pope County’s casino. The first choice was Gulfside Casino Partnership, and the second was Cherokee Nation Business, which was supposed to open Legends Resort & Casino. However, none of them passed in the court, and their applications were voided.

The process was stopped back then, and the state has seen five years of various legal battles and bureaucratic issues s taya365 ince the county’s residents were against opening the casino.

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As Arkansas Advocate reports, Alex Lieblong, a Chairman, commented on that: “We’ve been through enough litigation to last us a lifetime.”

However, the changes are finally looming on the horizon. Once the new rules are approved, the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office will have to file it, and after a 10-day period, it will definitely pass.

After the approval, the commission will have to create a scoring rubric, and then the applications will finally be opened. Several casino operators are already interested in getting the Pope County license.

At the moment, Cherokee Nation and its group are most likely to get the license. One of their biggest assets is a requisite letter of support from the county’s officials, which affects the final decision. However, Gulfside and its affiliates, as well as other groups are determined to apply by themselves in the hope that they would have been chosen.