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Politicians Oppose Arkansas Casino Proposal

As reported by the Arkansas News Bureau: “Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and Rep. John Boozman, R-Rogers, said Wednesday they oppose a proposal to build an American Indian tribal casino on the downtown riverfront in Fort Smith.

“Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., said she was undecided on the idea.

“The effort by the United Keetoowah Band would hurt the state’s poor and flies against a 2000 referendum in which Arkansans voted against allowing casino gambling in the state, the lawmakers said.

“?The Tahlequah, Okla.-based tribe, one of three federally recognized Cherokee tribes, on Tuesday filed a trust application with the Oklahoma branch of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to develop the 10-acre site into a 250-room hotel and casino.

“In their application, tribal officials are setting out to show that the Arkansas land lies within the historic treaty boundaries of the Cherokee Nation.

“?If approved, the application would allow the tribe to use a provision in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act that lets tribes operate gambling facilities on land held in trust.

“A bill that was approved by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on Wednesday would limit the ability of tribes to open casinos off their reservations.

“But it would allow landless tribes like the Keetoowahs to establish casinos under certain circumstances where they could show they have historical ties to the property?”