The Arkansas Racing Commission on Thursday green signalled Quapaw Nation’s plan to build a casino in Pine Bluff. The gambling regulator also approved Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort’s application for sports betting. However, it rejected the applications of five other operators seeking a Pope County casino license.
As the license applications were rejected, the gambling commission allowed for a full refund of $250,000 paid as application fee. It was a discretion of the gambling commission to keep it or process a refund.
Commenting on the grant of license by the gambling regulator John Berrey, chairman of the Quapaw Nation, said: “I’m elated and exhausted. I’m really happy for Jefferson County and the people of Jefferson County. It’s really good for my tribe, my people. I heard they were watching it on TV. They’re all excited.”
The commission unanimously voted to reject five applicants — Gulfside Casino Partnership out of Gulfport, Miss.; Tri-Peaks Entertainment Group of Las Vegas; Choctaw Nation of Durant, Okla.; Cherokee Nation Business of Catoosa, Okla.; and Kehl Management of Dubuque, Iowa — for the Pope County license as none of the applicants had a letter of support from local government officials.
Earlier in April, Arkansas racetracks started full scale gambling operations. Sports betting operation is expected to come soon at Arkansas gambling venues.