• The fourth and final license will be approved this year.
  • Paperwork must be submitted by June 11.
  • Applications can start coming in on May 13.

The final casino license in Arkansas is officially up for grabs. Interested companies can apply for licensing starting on May 13, and the process is available in digital and paper format. All applications must be submitted by June 11 to be considered.

New Rules for the Application Period

Last month, the commission adopted new rules that lawmakers approved, requiring the group to meet formally to close the application period. Once the submissions are provided, the commission will meet on June 12 to close the period.

The application process marks the third time in five years that the commission has tried to issue a gaming permit in Pope County. In two previous attempts, the licenses were voided. This involved the Gulfside Casino Partnership, the Cherokee Nation Business and its Legends Resort & Casino plans.

Both companies have issued statements on the upcoming licensing process and plan to submit applications yet again. Cherokee Nation Business feels it is highly qualified with its over 30 years of experience in the gaming and hospitality industry and its plans for the Legends Resort in Russellville will be successful.


Long Time Coming

Voters approved Amendment 100 in 2018 to allow four casinos in Arkansas. The first two were written into the law, and racetracks received automatic licensing. The third license was given to the Quapaw Nation and the Saracen Casino Resort was opened in Pine Bluff.

For the Pope County license, the situation was unique in that locals opposed to a casino in the area and several operators were hoping to obtain licensing. Local Voters in Charge is leading an effort to see a proposal on the ballot that will require a local vote before gaming venues can be placed in specific locations.

Yet another effort is also in the works to protect Amendment 100. With two signature campaigns in the works, we may see both questions added to the ballot, with voters having the option to decide if they should have a say so in casino gaming decisions and if Amendment 100 should stand to ensure that the gaming venue will be able to be placed in Pope County.

It’s your typical battle between opponents and proponents, which is quite common in the US when it comes to gambling laws. It will be interesting to see which side prevails and how Arkansas will move forward with its gambling expansion via casinos in the near future.

About the Author

Author Sadonna Price has been part of the online casino industry for over a decade, watching it develop and expand across the US. She enjoys playing online slots and table games, as well as Texas Hold’em.