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May 8, 2024

The Race for Pope County's Casino License: A Duel Between Giants

  • Key Takeaway One: The Arkansas Racing Commission has reopened the application process for a casino license in Pope County, marking a significant step forward after years of anticipation.
  • Key Takeaway Two: Gulfside Casino Partnership and Cherokee National Businesses emerge as the primary contenders in the quest for the coveted license, with a deadline set for July 24.
  • Key Takeaway Three: Local support plays a crucial role, with Pope County Judge Ben Cross favoring Cherokee National Businesses due to their established presence and contributions to the county.

After a prolonged wait stretching over five years, the Arkansas Racing Commission (ARC) has set the stage for a high-stakes battle to secure the rights to establish a casino in Pope County. This development signifies a pivotal moment for the residents of Pope County, who have been on the edge of their seats, awaiting the opportunity to hit the jackpot in their own backyard.

The Race for Pope County's Casino License: A Duel Between Giants

The window for applications swings open on May 12 and will snap shut on June 11, igniting a fierce competition primarily between two industry giants: Gulfside Casino Partnership and Cherokee National Businesses. As the July 24 deadline looms for the ARC to award the license, the anticipation in Pope County, nestled between Arkansas' bustling cities of Fayetteville and Little Rock, is palpable.

The saga of securing the Pope County casino license is reminiscent of a high-stakes poker game, with Gulfside Casino Partnership and Cherokee National Businesses going head-to-head since 2018. This prolonged battle has left the residents of Pope County waiting eagerly for the day they can place their bets at a local establishment.

In this contest, local support emerges as a pivotal factor. Pope County Judge Ben Cross has thrown his support behind Cherokee National Businesses, citing their established presence in the county and a proven track record as key reasons for his endorsement. "They have a track record that is proven, and I am going to stick with the proven track record," Judge Cross stated, underlining the importance of local ties and contributions to the community in the decision-making process.

For Gulfside Casino Partnership to remain in contention, securing a resolution of support from the Pope County Quorum Court becomes essential. Without this local backing, their bid for the casino license could fall short, underscoring the significance of community endorsement in this heated race.

Cherokee National Businesses stands confident, viewing themselves as the only qualified contender. Their vision includes the construction of Legends Resort & Casino, a project that promises to transform Russellville into a vibrant entertainment hub, further enriching Arkansas' cultural and economic landscape.

As the deadline approaches, the eyes of Pope County and beyond are fixed on the ARC, eagerly awaiting the outcome of this epic showdown. The promise of economic growth, job creation, and a new entertainment venue hangs in the balance, making the race for the Pope County casino license a story of high stakes, fierce competition, and community aspirations.

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