Public Relations

Cherokee Nation contributed $6M to failed Arkansas gaming bid


The Cherokee Nation owns and operates the Cherokee Casino & Hotel in West Siloam Springs, Oklahoma. The facility is on the Arkansas border. Photo from Facebook

The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma contributed a total of $6 million to a failed gaming initiative in Arkansas.

Campaign finance reports posted on Arkansas Ethics showed that Cherokee Nation Businesses gave the first $1 million in June. Additional contributions were made in July, August and September, accumulating for the $6 million total.

The costly effort came to a halt last week when the Arkansas Supreme Court said the ballot language on Issue 5 was illegal because it includes a reference to sports wagering. The Arkansas Wins in 2016 campaign on Tuesday asked for a reconsideration of the ruling, according to news reports.

Issue 5 seeks to authorize three commercial casinos in the state. Cherokee Nation Entertainment, a subsidiary of Cherokee Nation Businesses, is hoping to manage one facility in Washington County.

The tribe operates nine casinos in Oklahoma, including one in West Siloam Springs, near the Arkansas border. A 10th facility is due to open this winter.

Read More on the Story:
Cherokee Nation donated $6M to Arkansas casino campaign (AP 10/19)
$3.5M spent on casino measure; state court rejects amendment (The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette 10/19)

Arkansas Supreme Court Decision:
Lange v. Martin (October 13, 2016)

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Cherokee Nation backed gaming initiative off ballot in Arkansas (10/14)
Gaming initiative backed by Cherokee Nation advances in Arkansas (09/02)
Cherokee Nation contributes $1M for gaming petition in Arkansas (08/16)
Editorial: Let's leave gaming to tribes and kill Arkansas casino bid (06/28)
Cherokee Nation enters deal to run commercial casino in Arkansas (6/23)
Cherokee Nation sees strong progress on newest gaming facility (06/17)
Cherokee Nation touts new jobs as work begins on $23M casino (03/29)
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