Tribal commercial casino efforts in Arkansas, Connecticut and elsewhere are partly intended to confront or prevent potential competition.
Such is the case with the Quapaw and Cherokee Nation efforts in Arkansas, which last year passed a ballot initiative to legalize four commercial casinos, two at existing racetracks and two others in Pope and Jefferson counties.
Confronting Competition Quapaw’s Downstream Casino Resort enterprise and the Cherokee Nation’s Cherokee Nation Businesses (CNB) operate tribal government casinos along the East Oklahoma border with Arkansas.
“Their goal and part of my goal was to protect the western side of the state of Arkansas from expanded gambling, which would encroach on the market of Downstream Casino Resort and the Cherokee Nation,” Quapaw Chairman John Berrey says.
Berrey says the Quapaw also wanted to invest in the tribe’s ancestral lands in Jefferson County.
“Our strategy is to try and get back to where we’re from,” Berrey says. “It’s a mandate from the tribe to get back home.”
The Cherokee Nation, forced out of its ancestral lands in the Carolinas in the 1800s, hopes to expand its market.
The two tribes contributed more than $6 million to the initiative campaign.
The tribe failed in attempts to get an initiative on the 2016 ballot.