Hubert Tate at Channel 4 reports on an interview with chief of the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma, which has purchased 160 acres near the Port of Little Rock and is not ruling out the possibility that it could be considered for a casino someday.
Officially, the land purchase is merely a move by the tribe to reclaim some of its ancestral homeland.
Berrey says the tribe has a strong business arm in Oklahoma, including a portfolio of gas stations, restaurants, hotel, spa, golf course and two casinos.
Berrey says the tribe provides more than 2,000 jobs through its enterprises in Oklahoma.
So KARK asked him about the possibility of duplicating the business model in Little Rock.
He makes it clear, the group doesn’t have any plans right now to build a casino or anything else in Pulaski County, but he doesn’t rule out the possibility.
“I would never say never. We would love to help the state out in any fiscal situation. We would love to employ a lot of people. We have a great record in doing those type of things. So if the opportunity arises, we would probably take advantage of it , but right now, we are trying to protect it and be a good steward of what we own,” said Berrey.
A betting man would place a modest wager on an eventual casino application. It’s a fiendishly complicated process, and requires some state agreement for full casinos. But the odds have tended to favor the tribes in eventually winning permission for gambling enterprises equivalent to those operated in the private sector in states (28 at last count) where they have accredited property. There are full-bore casinos with table games at Southland and Oaklawn Parks. Both casinos have worked mightily to restrict ballot access by others hoping to amend the state Constitution to allow for more casino competition. That’s not a process the Quapaw would have to go through, but other regulatory steps would be significant.