Choctaw Nation competes with Cherokee Nation for gambling license


On November 20, the Choctaw Nation formally submitted an application with the Arkansas Racing Commission to develop and operate a casino within Pope County. This came just three days after the Cherokee nation submitted an amended application for that very same license.

According to recent reports, it is believed that the Cherokee Nation is the leading contender for the license.

choctaw-nation-competes-with-cherokee-nation-for-gambling-license-minThe Choctaw Nation had been looking into this idea for quite some time. In late October, the Matteson Village Board of Trustees gave their unanimous approval for the Indian tribe to plan to build a casino. By a 6-0 vote, the trustees supported the move, as the proceeds would go towards developing a south suburban trauma unit.

The formal application listed the Choctaw Nation Division of Commerce as the company formally seeking the application. However, it adds that the application is coming from the TVSHKA Gaming, a subsidiary of the Choctaw Nation.

The application did not receive any letters of support from Pope County officials. County officials appear to be solidly behind the Cherokee plan but do not have the same level of enthusiasm for the application submitted by the Choctaw.

However, some expressed disbelief about the Choctaw submission. According to County judge Ben Cross, he explained his shock in a statement when he explained, “It’s surprising they would submit an incomplete application lacking the constitutional requirements of Amendment 100.”

Amendment 100 allows a new casino to be built in Pope and Jefferson counties and for the expansion of operations at the racetrack facilities in both Hot Springs and West Memphis. However, all new casinos are required to have the endorsements of county officials. This is what is causing many to scratch their collective heads as they wonder why the Choctaw Nation would submit an application knowing they did not meet the requirements of the amendment.

Choctaw Nation have already partnered with Legends, the management company founded by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and late New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. In a statement they explained that the management company will “manage the process for the design and development” of the casino should the state award them the license.