The Cherokee Nation has objected to plans of the Arkansas Racing Commission to address two items that have created controversy as it considers applications to open a casino in Pope County.

We reported earlier that the Commission would meet Thursday and likely vote again on a vote it took earlier to consider applications from both the Cherokee Nation and Gulfside Casino Partnership as well as take up the question of a point system for judging the merit of applications.


A lawyer working for unidentified clients has contended the vote on finding good cause to consider the Cherokee application followed private discussions held in violation of the Freedom of Information Act using one-on-one conversations between Commission director Smokey Campbell and commissioners. They’ve denied this, but a spokesman said earlier this week that the sound quality of the meeting was poor and the matter would be considered again. The Cherokee Nation objects. It says there’s no precedent for such a step and it would have the effect of casting a shadow on the matter.

Here’s that letter.


Another agenda item concerns a point system to evaluate applicants. A lawyer for casino opponents has said the Racing Commission failed to follow procedures by not adopting the required point system to measure applications, thus throwing the whole process into doubt. That issue is to be addressed tomorrow. The Cherokees again object. They said no point system was used before approval of the Saracen Casino in Pine Bluff and that neither of the two parties with an interest remaining in Pope County object to going forward as planned.

Here’s the letter on that point.


Do you get the feeling that legal arguments are a long way from being resolved?