Arkansas Supreme Court throws Casino that is remaining License Into Legal Chaos

Published on: 4, 2021, 03:30h february.

Final updated on: 4, 2021, 03:42h.(* february)

Devin O’Connor

The Arkansas Supreme Court, seen right here in a gathering that is recent of justices, has weighed in on the casino license earmarked for Pope County. The court’s that is high, nonetheless, will simply complicate issues more. (Image: Arkansas Supreme Court)

Arkansas Supreme Court Pope casino license
Arkansas Supreme Court Pope casino license
In a decision that is unanimous today, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that the Cherokee Nation Businesses (CNB) had the right to intervene involving a lawsuit brought by the Gulfside Casino Partnership against the Arkansas Racing Commission (ARC) last year.

Arkansas voters in 2018 voted to allow four land-based casinos that are commercial their state. The ballot referendum authorized Southland and Oaklawn racinos to pivot into full-sale gambling enterprises with slots and dining table games. Two casinos that are from-the-ground-up also approved, one each in Jefferson and Pope counties.

The Quapaw Nation of Oklahoma and its Downstream Development Authority moved quickly after winning approval in Jefferson and receiving its license from ARC. The tribe opened the Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff October that is last Casino License back Jeopardy

beneath the 2018 amendment that is constitutional by voters, project proposals to county governments must include support from local officials, including a county judge. The Gulfside Casino Partnership’s casino bid in Pope County included the support of Pope County Judge Jim Ed Gibson.

However, Gibson exited the position at the start of 2019, and his successor, Judge Ben Cross, favored a casino submission from CNB. After the Racing Commission deemed Gulfside’s bid invalid because of not having a county that is current help, Arkansas Circuit Court Judge Tim Fox ruled in Gulfside’s benefit on grounds that the 2018 ballot referendum stated absolutely nothing concerning the judge having to be sitting regarding the present county workbench.

Fox additionally prevented the Cherokees from intervening in case. As well as the Arkansas Supreme Court said that has been incorrect.

The Seemingly ruling that is minute week has big consequences. The court’s that is high reopens the problem to brand new appropriate challenges. CNB solicitors have previously stated publicly their want to charm the Racing Commission’s decision week that is last formally approve the Gulfside casino plan.

Legal Nightmare

Pope County’s casino that is eventual start a long time after Jefferson’s. The saga started whenever ARC Commissioner Bruce Rice ended up being considered to possess had a bias in scoring the 2 casino presentations. Rice gave Gulfside an ideal 100 points, while just 29 for the Cherokee scheme.

Rice’s 71-point single-handedly that is differential the overall results in Gulfside’s favor. ARC decided to recuse Rice from the licensing and deemed his scores invalid.

Lawyers, including Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s office, stepped in. ARC Chair Alex Lieblong’s text messages with CNB attorney Dustin McDaniel later resulted in Lieblong excusing himself from the matter, too.

ARC, with an independent counsel that is third-party decided the other day to continue with Gulfside. However the Arkansas Supreme Court’s ruling offers extra groundway that is legal CNB solicitors to prevent Gulfside from breaking ground.

The instance continues.

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