The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports the state Racing Commission approved a proposal this week for the Quapaw Nation of Oklahoma to build a casino in Pine Bluff.
The commission also reportedly rejected five bids to build casinos in Russellville — including a proposal by the Cherokee Nation Business of Catoosa, Oklahoma.
Last year the Quapaw Tribe and Cherokee Nation spent millions of dollars passing a state constitutional amendment authorizing four casinos in Arkansas.
The amendment makes Oaklawn in Hot Springs and Southland in West Memphis full-fledged casinos, and it lets the Racing Commission authorize two other casinos to operate in Jefferson County and Pope County respectively.
The amendment was written in such a way that wealthy casino corporations already operating out-of-state have an easier time meeting the criteria for running a casino in Arkansas.
As we’ve written before, counties with gambling in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi continue to struggle with poverty, despite promises that casinos can be an economic boon.
Photo By Ralf Roletschek [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons.
Attorneys for the Quapaw Nation of Oklahoma have filed paperwork applying for a license to run a casino in Pine Bluff.
This week attorneys for the Quapaw Nation of Oklahoma submitted an application to the Arkansas Racing Commission to build a casino in Pine Bluff, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
The Quapaw Nation currently operates casinos in Oklahoma.
Attorneys for the Quapaw Nation drafted Amendment 100 to the Arkansas Constitution. That amendment made a casino in Pine Bluff possible in the first place.
The Quapaw Nation also spent more than $3.7 million putting Amendment 100 on the ballot and passing it in 2018.
We have said before that Amendment 100’s wording favors wealthy casino corporations who are looking to expand their business to Arkansas. Applicants who want to operate a casino in Arkansas must be able to pay $250,000 in application fees and must have experience operating casinos in other states.
Casinos are a blight on the community. Jefferson County already has enough trouble with poverty as it is. Opening a casino in Pine Bluff simply will compound that problem.