Posted on: January 28, 2021, 01:55h.
Final up to date on: January 28, 2021, 02:28h.
In Arkansas, three land-based industrial casinos are up and operating, however the fourth gaming allow — earmarked for Pope County — stays in authorized limbo.
In 2018, Arkansas voters signed off on a poll referendum to legalize 4 land-based industrial casinos with slot machines and desk video games.
Yesterday, the Arkansas Racing Fee (ARC) moved ahead a number of gadgets associated to the fourth on line casino, Gulfside On line casino Partnership continuing with its on line casino plans in Pope County. Gulfside is a gaming entity based mostly in Mississippi that’s managed by riverboat pioneers Terry Inexperienced and Rick Carter.
The businessmen, each members of the Mississippi Gaming & Hospitality Corridor of Fame, plan to construct a $254 million on line casino resort in Russellville, Arkansas.
The state’s 2018 gaming legislation allowed the previous Southland and Oaklawn horse racetrack racinos to transition into full-scale casinos with slots and tables. The gaming measure moreover known as for 2 new industrial casinos within the counties of Pope and Jefferson.
ARC was tasked with awarding the county on line casino licenses based mostly. Jefferson went to the Quapaw Nation, a tribal group in Oklahoma. The tribe’s Downstream Growth Authority opened the Saracen On line casino Resort in Pine Bluff final October.
Pope On line casino Scandal
The delay within the Pope County on line casino is because of a slew of controversies surrounding the gaming allow.
ARC thought-about two pitches for the on line casino license. Together with Gulfside, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma submitted a proposal for a $225 million resort on line casino — additionally in Russellville.
The racing commissioners graded every proposal on a scale from 1-100. Commissioner Butch Rice grade Gulfside’s mission an ideal 100/100. His rating for the Cherokee bid was 29/100.
Rice’s scoring singlehandedly tipped the general tally in Gulfside’s favor. ARC later dominated that Rice had a bias in his scoring, and his rating was subsequently voided.
ARC Chairman Alex Lieblong added extra controversy to the state of affairs when text messages between him and Dustin McDaniel, the lead legal professional representing the Cherokee Nation, had been made public. Gulfside argued the dialog detailed attainable collusion.
Lieblong’s scoring of the 2 on line casino initiatives had the biggest disparity apart from Rice’s. However Lieblong favored the Cherokee mission. The chairman denied any collusion, however nonetheless withdrew his scores from the vote as properly.
ARC employed Jim Fox of Fox & Fox Consulting in Arizona to assist the company resolve the matter. After assessment, Fox really useful final July that the company go together with Gulfside. Nevertheless, he mentioned the Cherokee plan was “extra deserving of the license.”
Fox referenced the ultimate tally, absent of Rice and Lieblong’s scoring, being 464-448 in favor of Gulfside for his reasoning. ARC was not sure by Fox’s suggestion however moved ahead with Gulfside this week.
Authorized Challenges Persist
Lower than 24 hours after the Arkansas Racing Fee’s assembly yesterday, McDaniel informed native media retailers that an enchantment is forthcoming.
Casey Castleberry, an legal professional for Gulfside, issued a press release.
“We’re transferring ahead with our plans to construct our first-class River Valley On line casino Resort, an leisure and financial vacation spot for Russellville, Pope County, and the state,” Castleberry declared.