Arkansas Racing Commission to weigh Pope County casino license at January meeting

Thursday 19th December 2019

The Arkansas Racing Commission will consider on Jan. 6 whether to issue a license for a casino in Pope County or whether to further hold off on that decision, commission attorney Byron Freeland announced at Thursday's commission meeting.

The Cherokee Nation and Choctaw Nation have each submitted applications to the commission in its second round of applications that closed on Nov. 18.

On Oct. 17, the commission initially decided to wait until lower courts had issued rulings in two cases before deciding whether to proceed with issuing a license.

One of the cases is Gulfside Casino Partnership's pending lawsuit in Pulaski County Circuit Court seeking the casino license from the Racing Commission, after its application was denied because the endorsements it contained were from local officials who had issued their support in December 2018 before they left office.

The other case is Citizens for a Better Pope County's appeal to the state Supreme Court of a Pope County circuit judge's decision to declare unconstitutional an initiated Pope County ordinance that requires voters approval before a casino license can be endorsed by local officials.

Commission Alex Lieblong of Conway said he hopes the commission's action on Thursday speeds court rulings.

Read Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for the full story.

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