The Quapaw Nation owns and operates the Saracen Casino Annex, a commercial gaming facility in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Photo: Saracen Casino Resort

Oklahoma tribes compete for commercial casino in Arkansas

The Cherokee Nation and the Choctaw Nation continue to compete for a commercial casino in Arkansas even as one of their fellow Oklahoma-based tribes is already in the game.

The Cherokees and the Choctaws have submitted applications to the Arkansas State Racing Commission. Each seeks to build a facility in Pope County.

Both tribes, however, were initially rejected by the commission because their applications were deemed incomplete. At issue was the lack of support for their proposals from a local official.

Cherokee Nation Businesses has since resubmitted an application with at least two letters of support, according to news reports. The Choctaw Nation also updated its application but without the same type of endorsement.

"We hope that the state will take action to allow all proposals to receive fair consideration," Janie Dillard, the tribe's senior executive director of commerce, told The Arkansas Democrat Gazette when asked about the lack of local support.

Only one license will be awarded for a casino in Pope County. It will be one of four located around the state as part of a ballot initiative approved by voters in November 2018.

Meanwhile, the Quapaw Nation, also based in Oklahoma, already won the license for a facility in Jefferson County. The tribe began offering gaming at a small property there on October 1, ahead of plans to open the much larger Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff next summer.

Jefferson County is southeast of Little Rock, the capital and most populous city in the state. Jefferson County lies to the northwest.

Read More on the Story
Cherokees file revised application for casino license (The Arkansas Democrat Gazette November 16, 2019)
Choctaw tribe files for casino, but Pope County support lacking (The Arkansas Democrat Gazette November 19, 2019)
Judge Tim Fox puts off resolution of casino lawsuit (The Arkansas Times November 25, 2019)
Pope County casino plans face setback in pending lawsuit (KATV November 25, 2019)

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Saracen Casino Resort - Tribal Presentation [PDF]

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