Arkansas Judge turns down Gulfside Casino’s motion for contempt

Arkansas Judge turns down Gulfside Casino’s motion for contempt

Gulfside Casino Partnership’s motion for contempt accusing the Arkansas’ Racing Commission of not following its own rules in awarding the only gaming license allocated for Pope County has been turned down by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox.

A Native American tribe called “The Cherokee Nation” in the state of Oklahoma continues to have the opportunity to construct a gambling and entertainment complex in neighboring state of Arkansas as Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox has ruled that the court won’t interfere in Cherokee Nation’s ongoing legal dispute with Gulfside to help decide which casino operator should get license in Pope County.

As per Gulfside’s argument, the Arkansas Racing Commission (ARC) did not adhere to its own rules and regulatory procedures while deciding which casino project in Pope County will move ahead. On 18th of June, six members of the state gaming regulator scored the proposals of two casino operators on a scale of zero to 100.

Commissioner Butch Rice allegedly had bias in scoring Gulfside’s gaming venue project 100 out of 100, while giving just 29 out of 100 to the Cherokee Nation’s proposal.

Mr. Rice’s controversial score awarding single-handedly pushed the cumulative tally for the two operators’ casino proposals to 637-572 in the favor of Gulfside. Later, the gaming commission voted to dismiss Mr. Rice’s score in a subsequent special meeting that took place on 22nd of June. The decision to dismiss Mr. Rice’s score left the casino license for Pope County hanging in the air.

When the matter was dragged to court of law, Judge Fox denied Gulfside’s motion for contempt, and turned down Gulfside’s allegation that the Arkansas Racing Commission breached its own rules while determining which of the two operators would get license for constructing and operating the casino.

Scott Richardson, an attorney for Cherokee Nation, argued before the judge that Legends Resort Casino and the Cherokee Nation Businesses couldn’t be separated, and that the Native American tribe holds years of experience in the field of operating casinos. But, the argument couldn’t convince the judge.

Pronouncing his ruling, the judge stressed, “Legends Resort and Casino, LLC is a ‘casino applicant’ … but Legends Resort and Casino, LLC is not qualified to be considered for a casino license, as it has no ‘experience conducting casino gaming’ as required.”

Headquartered in Mississippi and owned by riverboat casino pioneers Rock Cater and Terry Green, Gulfside claim that their planned casino project, dubbed River Valley Casino, should be awarded the license, irrespective of how Mr. Rice’s alleged bias is handled.