Pope County residents who were against the idea of a casino in Russellville can now heave a sigh of relief as the Arkansas State Racing Commission have planned to adopt and implement its casino gaming rules on Thursday. The plan would also stop the construction of a casino in River Valley. Thursday's meeting was an in-person public comment session for input on the on the Racing Commission's draft casino rules. The Commission had received 194 written public comments and interestingly, 188 of them pertained to the issue of a Pope County casino.
"The will of Pope County was spoken at the polls on the same issue," Pope county Judge Ben Cross said while addressing commissioners on Thursday. "I want to affirm that we stand on the issue because I am their representative," he added.
Russellville and Cross Mayor said that they do not intend to issue letters of support for casino operator applicants in Pope County. However, contrary to the statement, the ruled adopted by the commission on Thursday make a letter of support for the casino operators asking them to submit a qualified application. Mississippi based Gulfside Casino Partnership already had received letters of support from former Pope County judge Jim Ed Gibson and former Russellville Mayor Randy Horton. In turn the group has also announced plans of building a $2560 million in Russellville but most probably these letters are of no use now.
Racing commission rules must be approved by the Legislative Review Committee which is scheduled to happen on February 25.