Thu, Aug 29, 7:51am by Staff Writer
When the idea of expanded gambling in Arkansas first made the news, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones almost immediately starting working out a way to have a casino in the state.
The idea was made possible through an arrangement between one of his companies, Legends, and the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma with someone deciding that the best location for the venue was exactly where it would be least welcome.
Calvin Ayre reports that Pope County voters didn’t show a lot of support for gambling when the state took to the pools on the subject, but that seemed to be the perfect place for the casino to call home. And it’s been an issue ever since.
The deal between Legends and the Cherokee would see the Legends Resort and Casino Arkansas built in Russellville,.
It was the only offer accepted by the Arkansas Racing Commission, which irked several casino operators.
Now, Jerry Jones was on the receiving end of both the residents’ and the operators’ animosity.
Not anything the tycoon hasn’t seen before – he may even relish the attention.
Those operators, including Gulfside Casino Partnership, Warner Gaming with Hard Rock International, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and the Kehl family of Iowa, have been fighting the legality of the Cherokee/Legends approval.
The mud has been slinging and complaints of improprieties and unconstitutionality have been flying.
Pope County residents are ticked, as well, and things are going to get worse before they get better.
At least one lawsuit, launched by anti-casino group Citizens for a Better Pope County, is in place and more should be expected.
The latest comes from the Cherokee National Businesses, the arm that manages the Cherokee Nation’s gambling operations.
It is attempting to have the lawsuit thrown out on the grounds that it is completely without merit.
The lawsuit asserts that no one other than Pope County voters can authorise the operator of a gambling house, if they even choose to allow it to happen.
The claim that the voters should decided who gets the casino licence is unconstitutional, asserts CNB.
When the state headed to the polls last year, Amendment 100 was approved across Arkansas and allowed casino gambling to be added to two existing properties and two new areas, Pope and Jefferson Counties.
Opposed to the idea Pope County residents voted down the amendment and then created a local ordinance to try and taken control of its fate.
Jerry Jones gets a step closer to building $225 million casino in Arkansas https://t.co/OxEM1lr3Yw
— Dallas Morning News (@dallasnews) August 15, 2019
That ordinance is not valid, as a local ordinance cannot override a constitutionally established law.
CNB has filed for dismissal of the suit, but this won’t be the end of the battle.
Another salvo will certainly follow as the area continues to trample state laws.
Hard Rock International presented its proposal for a casino in Rockford, Illinois in mid June.
News about the company’s plans to enter the state’s casino market come shortly after Governor Pritzker signed into law a gambling expansion bill that among other things authorises the addition of up to six new casinos around Illinois.
Hard Rock chief executive officer Jim Allen and Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen will host an invitation-only announcement at noon on Tuesday at the site of Rockford’s former Clock Tower Resort.
The location is believed to be a front-runner in the race for the Rockford casino licence.
Hard Rock said it would not reveal details about their Hard Rock Casino Rockford proposal before the event, Casino News Daily reports.
The construction of a casino in Rockford is projected to generate 600 temporary and about 900 permanent jobs.
The property is expected to contribute between $4 million and $8 million a year in tax revenue for the city.
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