🎰 Again, tribe's application for Pope County casino license cleared

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The Arkansas Racing Commission approved the applications of Gulside Casino Group and Cherokee Nation/Legends for the casino in Pope.


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The Arkansas Racing Commission approved the applications of Gulside Casino Group and Cherokee Nation/Legends for the casino in Pope.


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It's down to two proposals for a multimillion-dollar casino operation in Pope County. The Arkansas Racing Commission on Wednesday.


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Arkansas Racing Commission sticks with competition for Pope County casino; Mississippi operators promise lawsuit if they don't win. By.


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It's down to two proposals for a multimillion-dollar casino operation in Pope County. The Arkansas Racing Commission on Wednesday.


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Arkansas Racing Commission sticks with competition for Pope County casino; Mississippi operators promise lawsuit if they don't win. By.


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This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Northwest Arkansas Newspapers LLC. Please read our Terms of.


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The Arkansas Racing Commission approved the applications of Gulside Casino Group and Cherokee Nation/Legends for the casino in Pope.


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Late Tuesday, Circuit Judge Tim Fox give a mixed ruling on the lawsuit by Gulfside Casino Partnership of Mississippi, which said it had a valid.


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Arkansas Racing Commission Reconsiders Two Proposals for Pope this week with two applications for a casino license in Pope County. Jim Fox's recommendation is expected before June 30, Hardin told the newspaper.


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Constitutional Amendment -- which was passed by voters in November to allow a new casino each in Pope and Jefferson counties, and allowed the expansion of gambling at the racetracks in Hot Springs and West Memphis -- requires endorsements from local officials, but it does not stipulate when they must be obtained. Some commissioners had participated by teleconferencing. After a couple of minutes, Lieblong made the motion, which was then quickly seconded before the measure was approved. The agreement benefited Pope County, several municipalities and nonprofit groups, but left out the city of Russellville. All commissioners were physically present at the meeting except Commissioner Denny East, who joined by telephone, Hardin said. It's a yes or no. McDaniel, I'm not worried about anyone else. McDaniel, a former state attorney general, told the commission that each of the points should be weighted equally to avoid a conflict in any future litigation "whether that's us or Gulfside. But a second application window established by the Racing Commission was "abandoned" after Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, in a separate case filed by anti-casino group Citizens for a Better Pope County, issued a temporary restraining order barring the commission from issuing the Pope County license in that second window. John Tull, an attorney and expert on the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act, complained in an April 29 letter to the commission that the unanimous votes at the previous meeting should be voided because the group violated the FOIA by reaching a decision in private before a public meeting. But Oklahoma-based Cherokee Nation Businesses and its competitor, Gulfside Casino Partnership of Mississippi, told the commissioners that litigation is inevitable no matter which is awarded the license. Our position is the application period ended May 30 of ," Castleberry said. It looks like you're using Microsoft Edge. Thursday's meeting was nearly 90 minutes long, with discussion on the Cherokees' request taking up most of the time. Thursday's meeting was set earlier this week to address problems created by technical difficulties at the previous meeting on April Those difficulties hampered discussion on the agenda items, chairman Alex Lieblong said. Rice obtained the information he was seeking," Hardin said. Reeves, of the attorney general's office, said the whole point of the points scoring is to give fairness to the applicants. In an interview after the meeting, Harris said McDaniel's assertion was "false," and he reiterated that he was never invited to any meetings associated with the financial agreement nor was he ever asked what Russellville "would desire" as part of the negotiations. Recommended for you Most commented.{/INSERTKEYS}{/PARAGRAPH} McDaniel said Russellville was left out of the agreement because Mayor Richard Harris declined to participate in the negotiations. Rice was one of the few participants who identified themselves before speaking. Our commenting system is more compatible with Firefox and Google Chrome. Finally, the Arkansas Racing Commission should not allow Mr. All were rejected by the Racing Commission in June because none met the commission's rule in place at the time, although Gulfside had endorsements from officials who had left office in December The Cherokees resubmitted their application after receiving endorsements from current county officials in August. Gulfside attorney Casey Castleberry said the casino operator's officials maintains that it is the only eligible candidate for the Pope County license. Part of the motion that was approved was to allow Gulfside and the Cherokees 10 days beginning today to submit "supplemental information" to the commission. You can join the discussion by using another browser, like Firefox or Google Chrome. Each will be assigned a maximum of 30 points except for the casino timeline, which was weighted at 10 points. McDaniel to state such falsehoods during the meeting without challenge or allowing me to respond. Harris twice asked the commission to be allowed to respond to McDaniel's assertion, but Deputy Attorney General Butch Reeves denied the request. I'm asking you the question," Rice said. Discerning the owners of the voices was difficult for others listening in. But the reason for that was because," McDaniel said, pausing when Rice abruptly cut him off. His initial motion to deny the Cherokees' "good cause" exception failed to get a second. Harris added that McDaniel told him in August that Harris was "purposefully not invited to the EDA discussions because they knew my position on a casino in Pope County. The commission also voted to assign a points value to each of the four merit criterion listed in the state's gambling rules to evaluate casino applicants: the applicant's experience with casino gambling; timeline for opening the casino; proof of financial stability and access to financial resources; and summary of the proposed casino. Rice said it was unfair competition to accept the Cherokees' application because that company had already viewed its competitors' applications submitted during the first window. When the chairman called for a motion at the end of the discussion, he was met with silence from the other commissioners. Again, tribe's application for Pope County casino license cleared by Jeannie Roberts May 8, at a. In a separate lawsuit, Gulfside sued the commission because its application, unlike any of the others, included letters of endorsement from previous local officials. When contacted after the meeting, Chuck Garrett, chief executive officer of Cherokee Nation Businesses, said through a spokesman that he was appreciative of the actions taken by the Racing Commission to accept their application. Griffen, however, said his ruling did not prohibit the commission from taking applications after an application period is closed, if the application can show "good cause. On March 25 this year, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox ruled unconstitutional a commission rule and a state law that add a requirement that the endorsements come from local officials serving at the time of the application. While Commissioner Butch Rice spent several minutes asking Cherokee attorney Dustin McDaniel questions and issuing challenges, the remaining commissioners spoke very little, if at all. The meeting was held at the attorney general's office, which barred physical public access and provided only telephone audio with no video option. The agenda items were effectively accomplished via conference call. We respect the ongoing commitment of the commission to do what is in the best interest of Pope County and the state of Arkansas, and we look forward to earning its full support. {PARAGRAPH}{INSERTKEYS}The Arkansas Racing Commission, by a vote Thursday, once again accepted an application on a "good cause" basis from Cherokee Nation Businesses, which is one of two companies competing for a license for a casino in Pope County. The commission's first application window closed May 30, , with five applicants, including the Cherokees and Gulfside. Rice peppered McDaniel with several questions, with the tone becoming stern at times. When asked after the meeting why his vote changed, Rice said in a statement through Hardin that he was unable to ask his intended questions at the April 15 meeting because of the technical issues. Tull said the commission's April 15 votes followed "very little public discussion. Rice -- who voted April 15 to grant the Cherokees' request -- was the only dissenting vote Thursday. The commission also unanimously set points values on criteria that will be used to score their applications. Jerry Malone, an attorney for Citizens for a Better Pope County, said in a filing in Pulaski County Circuit Court last week that the commission's application windows should be voided because of the commission's failure to follow one of its rules and assign points values to the scoring criteria.