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Casino license awarded to Cherokee Nations in Pope County

A casino license was awarded to Cherokee Nations Businesses in Pope County on Friday, Nov. 12.

POPE COUNTY, Ark. — According to Scott Hardin, an official with the Arkansas Racing Commission, a casino license was awarded to Cherokee Nations Businesses in Pope County on Friday, Nov. 12.

The move comes after last month's ruling by the Arkansas Supreme Court against a competing casino company hoping to build a resort outside Russellville.

In a 3-2 vote with two abstentions, the commission voided the original license granted to Gulfside Casino Partnership, refund its $250,000 deposit, and cash the check put forward by CNB. 

The actions mean a license should be formally issued by Monday.

The legal fight over the fourth license has flared in multiple courthouses and government offices since voters authorized expanded casino gaming in 2018.

"Over the course of this three-year journey, we have remained fully committed to our efforts and stayed true to CNB’s core values of honesty and transparency," said Chuck Garrett, CEO for Cherokee Nation Businesses. "Community comes first for us, and we are thrilled to continue building on the already strong relationships we have established with local officials and the community at large in Pope County and across the River Valley."

The Oklahoma-based Native American tribe plans to build a $225-million casino resort under the brand Legends, with 1,100 slot machines, 32 table games and a hotel near Interstate 40.