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RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. — The Arkansas Racing Commission has rejected an appeal from Cherokee Nation Businesses over the awarding of a casino license to another company.

The panel previously awarded the license for a new casino in Pope County to Gulfside Casino Partnership of Mississippi. The Oklahoma-based Cherokee Nation Businesses appealed, and a split commission rejected that appeal Thursday, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

"We are all aware that litigation is likely to follow, but the Commission ruled today and I respect the outcome," Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a statement. "In terms of lessons learned, we all need to be patient and let the legal and administrative process work."

Voters in Arkansas approved the legalization of four casinos in 2018, and three of those casinos have either partially or fully opened. The Pope County casino has been stalled by legal challenges.

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