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Casino Issue Heating Up Again in Pope County


The Pope County casino issue is heating up again.

On Monday, Aug. 12, Cherokee Nation Businesses and Legends presented its plans to build a resort-style casino in Pope County. With projected costs of $225 million, the developers say the casino will feature a luxury hotel with 200 rooms, a 50,000 square foot gaming area with 1,200 slot machines and more than 30 gaming tables, multiple dining options, 15,000 square feet of conference and entertainment space, an RV park, an outdoor water park and music venue.

The casino is projected to cost $225 million and generate $5 billion in revenue during its first decade in operation. Casino officials estimate the project will take 18 months to complete and create 1,000 jobs.

“From the onset, our goal in partnering with CNB has been to create a resort that truly offers something for everyone and provides an unmatched guest experience,” said Bill Rhoda, President of Legends Global Planning. “Most importantly, Legends Resort & Casino Arkansas will create a positive economic impact of benefit to Pope County and the state of Arkansas.”

Legends, the company the Cherokee Nation has partnered with, was founded by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Earlier this year, multiple casinos vied for the Pope County casino license. These included the Gulfside Casino Partnership, Cherokee Nation Business, Choctaw Nation, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, and Elite Casino Resorts.

The Arkansas Racing Commission rejected the companies’ applications because lacked the support of local authorities in the form of a letter of support from a city mayor or county judge.

It’s worth noting that while Arkansas voters legalized casino gambling when they approved Issue 4 in 2018, the county voters defeated the measure handily.

Now, the casinos are back at the table with Pope County officials. The Pope County Quorum Court will hold a special meeting tonight to discuss the casino issue and, in all likelihood, discuss the Cherokee Nation’s pitch.

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