Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

johnnydr87

Keetoowah Cherokee tribe wants to build Arkansas' first casino in Fort Smith

Recommended Posts

johnnydr87    1

This is very interesting!

Casino planned for Fort Smith riverfront, without public vote

March 6, 2006, 03:50 PM

FORT SMITH - An Arkansas oil and gas man and an Oklahoma Indian tribe are betting - literally - on a new Fort Smith riverfront development.

They've kept it quiet for months, but the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and Fort Smith businessman Bennie Westphal have entered an agreement to build a casino on the downtown riverfront.

Thirty years after workers first began filling in the land at the water's edge, property that once was part of the Arkansas River floodway is now dry land. "Now we have about 95 percent of the riverfront filled in,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


vbfl85    4

This could be a huge boost to Ft. Smith's tourist industry. It looks like there's alot more to it than just a casino, it looks to have parks, condos, retail, 2 museums, office space, and a boat dock/marina. I hope this project goes through it could do great things for downtown Ft. Smith.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
johnnydr87    1

Ok, I just watched the video.

It's very old, probably from the late 80s early 90s.

If you want to get to the meat of it, get 22 minutes into it. They wanted to move back to Arkansas and break away from the Cherokee reservation in Oklahoma because they wanted to be able to rule themselves. They have a history of living in Arkansas for a period, before they were moved to Oklahoma (and way before Arkansas, they were in the Carolinas).

Some people wondered why they wanted to move to Arkansas and suspected gambling ...but under state laws (at the time of the video) they would not have even been allowed to create a casino....

Well, I guess that's changed. But they still don't have land in Arkansas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tim2462    0

It'll be interesting to see all the church people fight this one. I hope it happens. There's just no reason for our money to be going to OK, LA, or MS.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
johnnydr87    1

Yep, they'll surely be up in arms over this one.

A person commented that they find it surprising that one of the white businessmen would even put himself behind a project like this. This commenter assumed that the Indian tribe (and its business partners from Fort Smith) must have already found a loophole if they went through this much trouble and this big of an announcement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mith242    69

Maybe this was the group that I remember but I was thinking there was another tribe that was trying to move back into the state but it was more up in the Ozarks somewhere, east of the NWA area. There was a big fight then and the tribe gave up rather fight the community that didn't seem to want them. This would be interesting for Ft Smith but it would be a big battle that would takes years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mcheiss    1

If this happens, it's going to take years. I would assume that a statewide lottery would have to come first, in order to establish gambling in the state. Then, casinos are going to have to be put on the ballot, which has already been turned down twice recently by the State Attorney General.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
skirby    61

If this happens, it's going to take years. I would assume that a statewide lottery would have to come first, in order to establish gambling in the state. Then, casinos are going to have to be put on the ballot, which has already been turned down twice recently by the State Attorney General.

The state wouldn't have much say in the matter. If the tribe can be recognized then the gambling matter is a federal issue. From what I understand they ae looking for land reclaimed from the Arkansas River which would fall under federal regulation anyway. I'm sure the matter will end up in court.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aporkalypse    1

The state wouldn't have much say in the matter. If the tribe can be recognized then the gambling matter is a federal issue. From what I understand they ae looking for land reclaimed from the Arkansas River which would fall under federal regulation anyway. I'm sure the matter will end up in court.

Exactly.

Casino gambling isn't legal in Oklahoma but there are many casinos - run by various Indian nations. it doesn't matter what Arkansas' laws are.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Exactly.

Casino gambling isn't legal in Oklahoma but there are many casinos - run by various Indian nations. it doesn't matter what Arkansas' laws are.

I was under the impression that the law recently passed allowing "electronic games of skill" at Oaklawn and West Memphis opened the door for this. Not by legalizing it in Ft. Smith, but by setting a precedent in the state.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mcheiss    1

Exactly.

Casino gambling isn't legal in Oklahoma but there are many casinos - run by various Indian nations. it doesn't matter what Arkansas' laws are.

Oh, I see now. They want to put it on "Indian Land". I was assuming that this was going on just normal land along the Arkansas River.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Aporkalypse    1

Oh, I see now. They want to put it on "Indian Land". I was assuming that this was going on just normal land along the Arkansas River.

Yup.

Thus the big issue, can the tribe wanting to return to Arkansas and buying land to do so make it legitimately "Indian land" or are they simply doing it to put in a casino and this could sort a dangerous precedent as "Indian land" could be found in the middle of an Atlanta, New Orleans, Dallas ,etc. As has been mentioned, though, there is more to this as well before the casino days the tribe was pushing to come back to Arkansas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mith242    69

Yeah I see that being a big issue. Just because a tribe buys some land doesn't mean it's suddenly a reservation and such. It would seem to me that much more would have to be involved. But it is an interesting discussion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dimebag1980    17

This story even made the news down here in Shreveport, mainly because there was also mention of casinos in Texarkana... which naturally would hurt the Shreveport casino market. When they showed the rendering for the Ft. Smith casino I was blown away... that was not what I was expecting to see. It was VERY impressive and a far cry from the riverboat casinos in this market.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mith242    69

This story even made the news down here in Shreveport, mainly because there was also mention of casinos in Texarkana... which naturally would hurt the Shreveport casino market. When they showed the rendering for the Ft. Smith casino I was blown away... that was not what I was expecting to see. It was VERY impressive and a far cry from the riverboat casinos in this market.

Hmmm..I haven't seen any renderings. Maybe I'll have to do some searching.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

dimebag1980    17

Hmmm..I haven't seen any renderings. Maybe I'll have to do some searching.

Definitely do, because what they showed on the news here was VERY impressive. It had the look of Vegas, no doubt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mith242    69

I haven't found any renderings yet but it looks like this band of Cherokees have been making a lot of news. Looks like this same group also got some land over in Alabama and are also planning a casino over there. I also saw some news about a recent court ruling just last month in favor for the Keetowah Cherokees. If this happens in Ft Smith I can see a lot of people in Arkansas pretty angry about it but it looks like they might not be able to do anything about it. Oh course it will also make some people happy as well. I do think Ft Smith would be a nice location. I imagine some people from Oklahoma will be concerned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
johnnydr87    1

Well, I was reading some comments on the Arkansas Times about this. One guy said he personally knew one of the businessmen involved with this project (the white businessmen, that is)....and that if that guy threw his name behind the project, there's a good chance that they've already found a loophole in the system.

Also, the tribe threw a fundraiser for Huckabee...so that might help their situation in some manner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mith242    69

From some of the things I found on the net it looks like the same tribe also has some land in Alabama. People objected and they went to court and the courts sided with the tribe. I get the impression that if the situation happens in Ft Smith it's basically the same setup as in Alabama.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was under the impression that the law recently passed allowing "electronic games of skill" at Oaklawn and West Memphis opened the door for this. Not by legalizing it in Ft. Smith, but by setting a precedent in the state.

I knew I had heard that somewhere. Here is a link to the Ark Times blog that points out that the new games allowed in Hot Springs and West Memphis opened the door for this. Indian Tribes can have gambling as long as other places within the state allow similar games.

http://www.arktimes.com/weblogs/WeblogItem...7c-7ed16bb5ed5b

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mith242    69

I knew I had heard that somewhere. Here is a link to the Ark Times blog that points out that the new games allowed in Hot Springs and West Memphis opened the door for this. Indian Tribes can have gambling as long as other places within the state allow similar games.

http://www.arktimes.com/weblogs/WeblogItem...7c-7ed16bb5ed5b

I thought that had changed. I know it used to be that there couldn't be gambling on reservations if the state didn't allow it but I don't think that applies anymore. I could be wrong on this but I thought reservations had been given the go ahead to have gambling now even if the state doesn't allow gambling.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sleepy    1

I thought that had changed. I know it used to be that there couldn't be gambling on reservations if the state didn't allow it but I don't think that applies anymore. I could be wrong on this but I thought reservations had been given the go ahead to have gambling now even if the state doesn't allow gambling.

Too bad West Memphis can't hustle up some Indian tribe. :lol: Though it's probably way too late to catch Tunica as a gambling destination, a casino in West Memphis would do that town a world of good in terms of development.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mith242    69

Too bad West Memphis can't hustle up some Indian tribe. :lol: Though it's probably way too late to catch Tunica as a gambling destination, a casino in West Memphis would do that town a world of good in terms of development.

If this works, it might be a matter of tiem before another tribe tries something like this somewhere else in the state.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mith242    69

Does anyone know offhand if any other Native Americans have land/reservations in Arkansas. I was under the impression beforehand that there weren't any reservations in Arkansas. But apparently the Keetoowah Cherokees do have land around Ft Smith. Just curious if there are any other groups I'm not aware of in the state.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tim2462    0

They do not have land in Arkansas, it's on the OK side near FS. They used to have land here, they're trying to reclaim some of it since it's adjacent to their current reservation in OK.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.