In the southern American state of Arkansas and a judge has reportedly thrown out two motions that were attempting to squash a lawsuit earlier brought against the plan to build and run the proposed Legends Resort and Casino development.

According to a Thursday report from the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen denied the separate submissions from the Arkansas Racing Commission and Cherokee Nation Businesses LLC so as to allow a lawsuit against the coming $225 million gambling-friendly property to proceed. This action was purportedly filed by John ‘Cliff’ Goodin in December and is attempting to scupper the entire Pope County project owing to an alleged flawed licensing process.

Plebiscite play:

The plan to bring the Legends Resort and Casino development to central Arkansas was reportedly hatched in 2018 after the state’s voters narrowly passed an enabling constitutional amendment to legalize up to four such venues. This referendum purportedly also resulted in the Oaklawn Racing and Gaming and Southland Park Gaming and Racing facilities being transformed into Las Vegas-style casinos in advance of the Quapaw Nation of Oklahoma’s official premiere of the $350 million first phase of its Saracen Resort Casino development in rural Jefferson County.

Decisive decision:

The Arkansas Racing Commission reportedly awarded the Cherokee Nation Businesses LLC enterprise of the federally-recognized Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma with the state’s fourth casino license in November in hopes of having the envisioned Legends Resort and Casino facility open by the end of 2024. This development on 135 acres of land in the small city of Russellville is purportedly due to feature a hotel, a large gaming floor and a conference center in addition to a concert hall, an outdoor water park and a recreational vehicle element.

Controversial contention:

However, Goodin reportedly filed a lawsuit against this plan soon after on grounds that Cherokee Nation Businesses LLC was a ‘non-applicant entityat the time it was awarded the gambling license by the Arkansas Racing Commission. The Pope County resident is purportedly furthermore alleging that this made the entire licensing process unconstitutional under the casino-enabling Amendment 100 measure passed by voters almost four years ago.

Antagonistic attempts:

The newspaper reported that the Arkansas Racing Commission and Cherokee Nation Businesses LLC had each submitted motions to squash this lawsuit with the former’s contending that Goodin lacked standing in the case and that the jurisdiction of the court would be precluded by sovereign immunity statutes. For its part and the effort from the operator purportedly argued that the plaintiff’s argument was ‘deeply flawed’ as he was only seeking to stop the development ‘at all costs’ and that it had been ‘the only qualified applicantat the time of the licensing process.

Futile endeavors:

Nevertheless, Judge Griffen has now reportedly denied both of these motions and ruled that Goodin has standing in the case because he is a Pope County taxpayer impacted by state laws including Amendment 100. The authority purportedly furthermore decreed that Cherokee Nation Businesses LLC is not entitled to exploit sovereign immunity because the plaintiff is only seeking injunctive relief and not monetary damages.

Conceivable consequence:

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that Griffen finished by asserting that a subsequent positive judgement for Goodin would see Cherokee Nation Businesses LLC lose the right to bring gambling to its planned Legends Resort and Casino development with ‘any rights asserted by the purported licensee rendered null and void.’