Photo credit: Legends Arkansas
- Jerry Jones’ Legends Hospitality most likely winner for casino site in Pope County
- Cherokee Nation Businesses could contribute $39 million in economic development fees
- Legends still needs to obtain a license first
Dallas Cowboys’ owner, Jerry Jones, is teaming up with the Cherokee Nation Businesses to launch a casino in Pope County, Arkansas.
Jerry Jones Hopes High for Arkansas Casino
After a surprise passing of a sports betting bill in Arkansas, Jerry Jones‘ hospitality company, Legends Hospitality, is on its way to securing a casino property. The owner of the Dallas Cowboys is all game for a gaming and betting hub in the state, and that’s all too appropriate.
Pursuing a similar vein of development, Jones will be teaming up with the Cherokee Nation Businesses run and operated by the namesake Native American Tribe. As per preliminary design, Jones’ casino will offer 1,200 slot machines along with a 200-room luxury hotel property, along with a water park, a concert venue and other amenities.
Not least of all, Mr. Jones’ business is endorsed by lawmakers who are eager to see Arkansas join in on the sports betting bonanza that has been going around the country since May, 2018. As a result, the Legends Resort & Casino Arkansas along with the potential sites for the upcoming project.
Operators have also expressed big hopes to secure a management contract with the would-be property. Warner Gaming, for example, one of the five applicants for the privilege has been notified that it wouldn’t qualify for the project as another operator has been chosen. Warner issued a protest as part of an official statement:
“We’ve been invited to submit a new proposal at a hastily called emergency meeting, and have been informed that the selection of an operator has already been made, without any kind of public deliberation.”
The competition to build a number of new properties has emboldened many companies to pursue a shot at being involved with one of the four casinos that Arkansas voters approved as part of a state-wide referendum to allow such activities legally in the state.
Legends Hospitality Dominates Sports Betting
Sports betting may have arrived late in Arkansas but Legends Hospitality has been involved in the segment since it was founded in 2008. The company has been managing a number of assets, including:
- Premium seating sales
- Sponsorship deals
- Sports venues
Legends Hospitality seems to be comfortable with the idea of landing the deal, citing the formidable financial performance of the Cherokee Nation Businesses that posted $1 billion in revenue in 2017 alone.
Not This Cowboy’s First Rodeo
So far as gambling opportunities go, Jones’ Dallas Cowboys teamed up with the Oklahoma’s WinStar World Casino and Resort. In light of his previous forays into this kind of business, Mr. Jones is definitely a favorite, although Warner Gaming’s caution about lack of public process also ring true.
Yet, the Cherokee Nation Businesses could pour in $39 million in economic development fees to get the project off the ground, which is a good number.
To make its mark on Pope County, where the project will possibly be built, Legends Hospitality, will have to acquire a license. So far all bids – placed by other companies – have been rejected, but Legends will be the first bidder to have garnered the approval of local lawmakers.
Today, the Gulfside Casino Partnership will appeal the decision to not be allowed as a contractor for the casino site. As a result, the Arkansas Racing Commission will meet and discuss the issue.