Leslie Newell Peacock caught up with John Berrey, chief of the Oklahoma-based Quapaw tribe, when he was in Little Rock last week as co-sponsor of a barbecue during the Clinton Library 10th anniversary.
He confirms in an interview that the tribe, which operates a casino in Oklahoma, considers a casino among the options for use of 160 acres of ancestral land it recently purchased near the Little Rock Port. Nothing definite yet, but …
Berrey said he was unsure what legalities were required should the tribe want to build a casino on their Arkansas land. If they were to offer Class III gaming (such as slot machines, blackjack, craps and roulette), the tribe would have to enter into a compact with Arkansas and that compact would have to be approved by the Department of the Interior. The state would share in revenues generated by the games.
In Oklahoma, revenue from Quapaw gaming, which started six years ago, has been a boon to the tribe, Berrey said. Its firefighting team was the first responder after the Joplin tornado and has been recognized for its work. The tribe has its own health insurance, and all are covered under a policy superior to the Bureau of Indian Affairs health system. There are 500 Quapaw students getting financial aid in college, Berrey said. The tribe numbers 5,000 and occupies land at the northeast corner of Oklahoma, near the Missouri and Kansas state lines