October 30, 2023 3 min read


Arkansas Supreme Court Upholds License Revocation for Pope County Casino

Pope County may or may not see a new casino materialize as the legal battle rages with opposition as well as support surging for both sides

The ambition of two companies, to wit Cherokee Nation Businesses and Legends Resort and Casino, to bring a new gambling property to Pope County, Arkansas has gone on for years. The businesses have tried it all – playing nice and playing hardball, but locals have not bucked and have remained mostly firmly opposed to the idea of a casino in their area.

Supreme Court Reminds Cherokee Nation of Licensing Obligations

The fight has made it to the Arkansas Supreme Court, which decided on Thursday to uphold a lower court’s decision and pronounced itself against the licenses issued to the two businesses seeking to open a casino. The Supreme Court explained that the license was in breach of Amendment 100 and could not be used as the basis for realizing the proposed project.

Cherokee CEO Chuck Garrett expressed his disappointment but said that the ruling would not stop the nation from pursuing the license. Garrett cited the nation’s established track record in the industry and said that his colleagues knew what they were doing with more than 30 years of gaming and hospitality business experience. Yet, he acknowledged that securing the Pope County license has been the hardest to get yet.

Experienced or not, the Supreme Court found an issue with the manner of the proceedings by the private companies. For one, the Supreme Court rejected the idea of a license being issued to two entities. By law, there must be only one. To add insult to injury, Legends does not have any experience in casino gaming, which makes it illegible.

Why has an application been filed like this in the first place, most have asked? However, Garrett has preferred to focus on the good that would come out of building a casino. He assured that locals stood to benefit the most but cautioned that Arkansas is losing valuable tax money the longer this matter drags.

Going Back to the Drawing Board for Another Round

Not everyone is as upset about the decision, though, as Gulfside Casino Partnership rep Casey Castleberry said that the Supreme Court decision was the correct one. Of course, Gulfside Casino Partnership also wants to build a casino in Pope County. Gulfside too had a license granted, which was later reverted.

What this means is that after years of trying, local opposition may have somewhat subsided, but neither of the two parties who want to realize the project has demonstrated that they are clearly capable of clearing the licensing procedure. They need to start from scratch, and time is surely not on their side as both are eager to beat the other one to the finishing line.


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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