Pope County leaders endorse proposal for new casino

Casino chips.jpg

POPE COUNTY, Ark. (KARK) — The Pope County Quorum Court voted Tuesday to support a casino license application to be submitted by the Cherokee Nation Businesses, LLC/Legends Resort and Casino, LLC to build and operate the Legends Resort and Casino.

The vote was 8 yes, 4 no and 1 abstain.

In order to build a casino, the operators need written evidence of the county’s support of their application.

The minimum commitments of the project, according to the Economic Development Agreement, is a construction cost of at least $225,000,000, casino/gaming facilities, a hotel with a minimum of 200 rooms, a mixed-use indoor conference and music venue capable of accommodating at least 1,000 guests, multiple price-point dining facilities, sports bar and communal area, a sportsbook/simulcast parlor, waterpark, recreational vehicle park, outdoor music venue capable of accommodating at least 5,000 guests, medical air ambulance landing zone and a separate, secure office space to be utilized as a substation by local law enforcement agencies.

Also in the Economic Development Agreement, the operator would have to pay $38,800,000 in Economic Development Fees to be distributed among municipalities and fire protection districts or associations within Pope County. According to the agreement, $27,599,373 would go to Pope County, $3,361,608 would go to the City of Pottsville, $3,532,236 would go to the City of Atkins, $1,444,000 would go to the City of London, $1,505,356 would go to the City of Dover, $242,427 would go to the City of Hector, $800,000 for the Crow Mountain Fire Protection District, $130,000 would go to the Pope County Fire Association, $30,000 would go to the Arkansas Tech University Foundation, $25,000 would go to Russelville Center for the Arts, $25,000 to the Dover Public Education Foundation, $25,000 to the Hector Public Education Foundation, $25,000 to the Atkins Red Devil Foundation, $25,000 to the Pottsville Community Scholarship Fund, $10,000 to the Dover Chamber of Commerce, $10,000 would go to Atkins People for a Better Atkins, and $10,000 to the River Valley Arts Center.

In the Economic Development Agreement, the operator would agree to hire a full-time employee certified as an addiction counselor and all employees who do not receive gratuities as part of their regular compensation will be subject to a $13 per hour minimum wage.

According to the Economic Development Agreement, the county can not negotiate or enter into another agreement with any other party as long as the agreement with Cherokee Nation Business, LLC is in effect.

Terry Green, co-owner of Gulfside Casino Partnership, released the following statement in connection to Tuesday night’s meeting:

“We stand behind our application to the Arkansas Racing Commission. Gulfside has been— and continues to be— committed to building a first-class resort. When we receive a license, we will fulfill our vow to bring good-paying jobs, economic development and philanthropic dollars to the community.”


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