January 6, 2023 3 min read


Enduring Lawsuit on Arkansas’ Legends Resort and Casino License Close to an End

The circuit court in Arkansas is getting ready to make a decision regarding who should operate Arkansas’ fourth casino

According to Arkansas Advocate, Judge Timothy Fox is expected to rule on the matter of Legends Resort and Casino and their entitlement to open a new casino in Pope County. The ruling will be made public in the upcoming days, putting an end to the four-year controversy regarding who should be the rightful operator of the fourth authorized casino in Arkansas. 

The Four Casinos’ Rule 

In 2018, the state approved Amendment 100 to the Constitution 2018, which gave the green light to casino gambling. The same amendment limited the number of state casinos to four. Half were approved at the state’s Oaklawn (Hot Springs) and Southland (West Memphis) racetracks. 

A new casino was approved for Jefferson and the last venue was dedicated to Pope county.

Quapaw Nation rapidly received the support of local officials around Jefferson’s Pine Bluff and obtained a license to build Saracen Casino Resort. 

The casino that is located 40 minutes from Little Rock hosts an 80,000-square-foot gaming area complete featuring more than 1,800 slot machines, a poker room, 40 table games, and four on-site restaurants. Last September, the commission approved a pitch by the Saracen Casino in an attempt to connect the state’s gambling machines with machines from other states. 

Pope County’s fourth casino license, however, became more complex and hard to follow. For starters, the Arkansas Racing Commission chose not to give the license to any of the five applicants for the 2019 period. This was because the applicants failed to obtain a letter of support from Pope County’s officials.

The commission that regulates thoroughbred and greyhound racing in the state handed the license for a fourth casino to Gulfside Casino Partnership a year later. At the same time, the Arkansas Supreme Court decided that Gulfside’s support letter obtained from the previous Pope County judge was not a valid one. The argument was that the judge had not been in office at the time of Gulfside’s application. 

Clearing the Way for Cherokee Nation 

Accordingly, the commission decided to award the license to Cherokee Nation Businesses LLC/Legends Resort and Casino LLC toward the end of 2021. The company had a problem building the casino because its license was put on hold following Gulfside’s appeal. According to the latter, Legends does not possess the necessary experience needed to operate a casino venue. 

At the same time, the Cherokees argued that Cherokee Nation Businesses, which is entitled to run a gambling venue, is Legends Resort and Casino LLC’s only member. They also explained that Legends is also a consultant that Cherokee Nation Business had partnered with.

Judge Fox spent most of Wednesday’s hearing confirming the freshest timeline and additional details regarding this case, explaining that he wanted to make sure that the record would be complete for the Supreme Court. 

Legends attorney and former state Attorney General Dustin McDaniel also filed a complaint against Pulaski County’s circuit judge, further showcasing the parties’ frustrations regarding the speed and manner in which Fox tackled the case. During a Tuesday hearing, Fox gave several parties the chance to ask for his recusal. None of the parties took the opportunity to request a recusal. 

After finishing her master's in publishing and writing, Melanie began her career as an online editor for a large gaming blog and has now transitioned over towards the iGaming industry. She helps to ensure that our news pieces are written to the highest standard possible under the guidance of senior management.

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