January 16, 2023 2 min read


Judge Rules against Cherokee Nation’s License for Casino in Arkansas

The Cherokee Nation Businesses and Legends Resort and Casino secured a license in Arkansas for the state's fourth casino in 2021 but only recently, a judge ruled against the license

Overall, Arkansas approved four locations for land-based gambling venues following a constitutional amendment from 2018. While casinos were already built for three locations, a legal battle has been ongoing for the fourth location, Pope County. Preparing its casino operations, the Cherokee Nation Businesses bought 180 acres in the county. But a legal battle challenging the Cherokee Nation Businesses and Legends Resort and Casino’s license put on hold the casino project.

Judge Rules to Void Casino License

Now, a report released by the Associated Press, reveals that Timothy Fox, Pulaski County Circuit Judge ruled against the Cherokee Nation Businesses and Legends Resort and Casino license. On Thursday last week, the judge ruled to void the decision to award the businesses a license, claiming it breached Arkansas’ constitution. Moreover, the judge deemed Legends Resort and Casino not suitable for a license considering it lacked casino gaming experience.

The legal battle was filed by Gulfside Casino Partnership, another applicant in the race for the state’s fourth casino. Initially, Gulfside secured a license in 2020. However, its license was then deemed not valid shortly after. At the time, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that the company secured its license with a support letter from a Pope County judge that had not been in office.

After that, the Arkansas Racing Commission decided to award the license to Cherokee Nation Businesses/Legends Resort and Casino near the end of 2021. But this wasn’t the end of the race for Gulfside which contested the Commission’s decision.

In light of the recent decision, Lucas Rowan, Gulfside’s attorney, said that the company remains committed to developing Arkansas’ fourth casino in Pope County. He explained that the new casino will bring economic stimulus and create new jobs. Last but not least, Rowan said that the latest decision marks an essential step for Gulfside.

On the other hand, Cherokee Nation Businesses’ CEO, Chuck Garrett, acknowledged that the court’s decision is disappointing. He explained that the next step is now to file an appeal with the Arkansas Supreme Court.


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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