Cherokee Nation Businesses has filed its formal request that it receive Racing Commission approval of a permit to operate a casino in Pope County.
This follows a determination earlier this week that Commissioner Butch Rice’s score should be thrown out as biased in favor of Gulfside Casino Partnership, leaving the Cherokee Nation as the high scorer in an evaluation process that had originally turned out in Gulfside’s favor.
The Commission didn’t take a formal step after throwing out Rice’s score but encouraged the two competitors to meet with the attorney general about a way to resolve the issue. That seemed unlikely since whomever the Racing Commission ultimately picks likely faces a court challenge from the loser.
At this point, the filing by CNB is technically an appeal of the commission’s initial decision to pick Gulfside for the permit and reject the Cherokee application. The appeal lays out the history of the case and asks that the earlier decision be reversed and the Cherokee Nation/Legends application be approved for the permit.
This ought to be simple: Racing Commission revokes the earlier decision to give the permit to Gulfside because Rice’s score doesn’t count. In 30 days or so, it issues formal approval to the Cherokee Nation. Gulfside sues on several points. In a year or so, the Arkansas Supreme Court finally settles it.