LITTLE ROCK -- An American Indian tribe submitted its first application for a casino license in Arkansas.
Voters approved a constitutional amendment in November that legalized casinos in four Arkansas counties.
The Quapaw Nation in Oklahoma gave the state Racing Commission a $250,000 check on Wednesday as the casino license application period began, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. The application period will be in effect through May 30.
Nate Steel, attorney for the Quapaw Nation, said it was crucial that the tribe submit its application on the first day.
"We wanted to show the commission we wouldn't be dragging our feet," he said.
Quapaw Nation officials announced several months ago that they wanted to build the Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff, which is a $240 million project. Pine Bluff's mayor and Jefferson County officials backed Quapaw Nation's plan, which is a requirement under the amendment.
The tribe is happy to finally start the application process for the project, said Alex Gray, the Quapaw Nation attorney who helped draft the amendment.
"It's been an 18-, 19-month project at this point," Gray said. "It's exciting to see us entering this phase."
Steel noted that while it was just the first day of filing, he doesn't expect any other casino interests to apply for the Jefferson County license.
State Desk on 05/03/2019
Print Headline: Oklahoma tribe applies for 1st Arkansas casino license