October 27, 2023 3 min read


Supreme Court in Arkansas Rules against Cherokee Nation License

The latest Supreme Court decision reaffirms a ruling of a Pulaski County circuit judge from 2021

In 2018, voters in Arkansas approved the creation of four casinos under a constitutional amendment. While three resorts were already built, the license for the fourth casino was involved in a years-long legal battle. This came after Legends Resort and Casino, a company created by the Cherokee Nation, along with Cherokee Nation Business, jointly secured a license for the fourth location.

Although the license was greenlighted by the Arkansas Racing Commission, it was struck down in 2021 by a Pulaski County circuit judge. Now, the Arkansas Supreme Court upheld the circuit judge’s ruling against the gambling regulator about the license issued to Legends and Cherokee Nation business. This effectively confirmed that the license was issued in breach of Amendment 100 of the Arkansas Constitution. In other words, the casino license was deemed unconstitutional.

Considering the recent decision of the Arkansas Supreme Court, it is likely that this marks the final part of this legal battle. As a result, the gambling regulator in the state would have to issue a new license for the Pope County casino location.

The Race for Casino License Continues

Casey Castleberry, an attorney representing Gulfside Casino Partnership, one of the rival applicants for a Pope Casino license, was happy about the latest ruling of the Arkansas Supreme Court. He explained that the company is delighted that the higher court upheld the ruling of the circuit judge from 2021 that recognized Legends cannot qualify for a license in Pope County.

“Just as the Racing Commission selected our superior application in 2020 in a head-to-head with Legends, we look forward to demonstrating again to county leaders and residents how our proposed world-class resort will benefit them and the entire state,” outlined Castleberry in a statement.

While Gulfside liked the recent Supreme Court decision, this was not the case for Cherokee Nation Business. Cited by the Associated Press, the company confirmed it didn’t like the outcome of the legal battle. Yet, the Cherokee Nation Business’ CEO, Chuck Garrett, reaffirmed that the company is prepared to collaborate with state and local officials to bring the Legends Resort and Casino that is expected to deliver economic stimulus and growth for the region.

We are fully committed to moving forward and working with local and state officials as we have been for the past five years to build Legends Resort & Casino and bring the much-needed economic growth the community and state deserves.

Chuck Garrett, CEO

On the other hand, Trent Minner, an administrator for the Department of Finance and Administration’s Regulatory Division that includes the state’s gambling regulator, the Arkansas Racing Commission, confirmed that the process for a new application would be initiated “in a timely manner.” Lastly, Minner said that the DFA will collaborate with the Commission to ensure the application complies with all regulations.


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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