The vote on two casino business proposals by the Arkansas Racing Commission (ARC) was at first struck down. At issue were potential candidates Gulfside Casino Partnership and the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.
An accusation of bias and lack of integrity shut the decision making down. Now the ARC wants to take action against Commissioner Butch Rice. His view of the Cherokee proposal was downright irrational. He scored the tribe ridiculously low compared to the other proposal.
As a result, Gulfside won and Rice’s vote had to be removed. All the commissioners had rated the Cherokee project quite high, revealing a discrepancy.
Rice is under scrutiny due to a “reasonable suspicion of unfairness.” An outside entity will see what direction to take. It may delay casino development in Arkansas at a time when revenue is at stake. It will be a blow to the gambling laws that have been approved in The Land of Opportunity.
Apparently there have been stumbling blocks every step of the way. Now Rice’s actions show a lack of integrity and character in spite of his denials. He allegedly has close ties to Terry Green, the co-founder of Gulfside, but as he states it,
“I swear to you, I did not cast anything to hurt either casino.”
Was bias present or not? Looking at each scored category, the Cherokee Nation did not fare well with the commissioner.
While it scored well with others in financial stability, Gulfside admitted that it needs assistance for its project.
In fact, the company is seeking investors to cover the needed $254 million. Why then did Rice give Cherokee five points but Gulfside a full thirty. Something was clearly wrong.