January 31, 2024 3 min read

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Arkansas Racing Commission Confirms Plans to Revise Casino Rules

The revised rules pave the way for the awarding of the last casino license in the state dedicated for Pope County

In November 2018, Arkansas residents approved an amendment to the state’s constitution, paving the way for casino gambling. This enabled the state to grant licenses for up to four casino locations. Since then, three casinos are already up and running after securing licenses, offering casino gambling in Crittenden, Jefferson and Garland Counties.

Sadly, the fourth casino license designated for Pope County was tangled in a years-long legal battle. The legal dispute between two bidders, Legends Resort and Casino and Gulfside Casino Partnership effectively put a halt on the process which otherwise would have resulted in the development of a fourth casino for the state.

Yet, after years of legal battles, the efforts of the gambling regulator in the state, the Arkansas Racing Commission (ARC), may soon result in the awarding of the fourth casino license. This would be achieved through a complex process that involves the development of a new framework required for the assessment of the bidders for the license.

As announced by the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, on Tuesday, the ACR officially greenlighted a revision of the rules for assessment of casino licenses. This process is ultimately expected to result in the awarding of the Pope County casino license, marking the completion of the casino expansion in Arkansas.

However, before the ACR can start accepting applications for the license, the proposed rules would need to secure approval from Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Once this approval is done, the Commission will be able to initiate the application process, granting interested bidders 30 days to submit their applications.

Scoring Will Help Determine the Winning Casino License Bidder

It is likely that the ACR will remove a provision within the current rules that enables applications to be received after the 30-day application period. This provision, according to the state’s Deputy Attorney, Doralee Chandler, is “a clause that is inviting of litigation.” She revealed that once the deadline for the bidding ends, each casino operator that has submitted a proposal will undergo scoring.

Commissioner Steve Anthony spoke about the importance of the scoring process, saying that it is imperative that there are no loopholes. Questioning the exact scoring process for each casino license applicant, he received a response from Chandler who said: “the application scoring process will be something that you all will discuss when we create the matrix and the scoring rubic for that as to how you all want to score with that scoring process.”

Ultimately, according to her, the assessment will help determine the scoring for each application, ranking it from the lowest to the highest total score. In the end, the fourth and last casino license will be awarded to the bidder with the highest score under the newly planned criteria.

The aforementioned process marks a major development for the Pope County casino license. Provided that there are no delays, there is a chance for the last casino license in Arkansas to be awarded this year.

Journalist

Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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