Cherokee Nation Businesses Releases Projected Economic Impact

Cherokee Nation Businesses Releases Projected Economic Impact of Casino Resort on Pope County and Northwest Arkansas Legends Resort & Casino Arkansas expected to create $3B+ impact over first 10 years


FEBRUARY 13, 2020 – POPE COUNTY, Arkansas – Cherokee Nation Businesses today released findings of a study conducted by Economic Impact Group (EIG) projecting the impact of its proposed Legends Resort & Casino Arkansas on Pope County and Northwest Arkansas.


“In forming our plans for Legends Resort & Casino, we turned to a network of experts to help us understand how this project would impact the region’s economy,” said Chuck Garrett, CEO, Cherokee Nation Businesses. “It was fitting for us to engage this research through Dr. Russell Evans and EIG who are already very familiar with current CNB operations.”


To reach these findings, EIG utilized Cherokee Nation impact data sets from six Oklahoma counties, using Muskogee and Washington Counties as comparable to Pope County. Each of these Oklahoma counties is home to a significant regional micropolitan area and is near, but not immediately adjacent to, a larger metro area.


Overview of findings:

  • Once operational, estimates are that Legends Resort & Casino will immediately create more than 1,750 jobs in Pope County and surrounding counties through direct and indirect employment.

  • Over the 10-year licensure, Legends Resort & Casino will support more than 21,000 jobs in Pope County and surrounding counties from direct and indirect employment.

  • The estimated employee income in the first operating year will be $43.3 million and total $530 million over 10 years.

  • Legends Resort & Casino is expected to purchase $296 million from vendors over the 10-year license period.

  • Taxes paid to Pope County following the first year of operations are estimated to be $4.3 million and will reach $5.8 million by year 10. The total for the 10-year period will equal roughly $52.3 million.

  • Legends Resort & Casino is conservatively expected to create an economic impact of more than $3.15 billion over 10 years – including regional production and incomes. This does not include the $111 million in economic development fees, community grant support and local taxes to be paid over that period.

In addition to recurring purchases and investments, Cherokee Nation Businesses will pay a $38.8 million economic development fee to Pope County within 30 days of receiving the casino gaming license. This will fund Pope County and local municipalities, a variety of community organizations, fire protection groups, student scholarships and art associations.


Furthermore, Cherokee Nation Businesses has committed to granting $2 million annually for community development. This grant will be adjusted over time for inflation and will total nearly $19 million within 10 years. Distribution of these funds is at the discretion of the County and will be used to support local organizations and charities.


Cherokee Nation Businesses will release these report findings to the general public at 7 PM today at a community update event at the Hughes Community Center in Russellville. The projections will be presented by Dr. Russell Evans, Executive Director of the Economic Research & Policy Institute at Oklahoma City University and Co- Founder of EIG.


To learn more about Legends Resort & Casino Arkansas, visit Find us on Facebook at Legends Resort & Casino Arkansas.


About Cherokee Nation Businesses
Cherokee Nation Businesses employs more than 7,000 people in 47 states, 25 countries and two U.S. territories. CNB’s gaming and hospitality portfolio, Cherokee Nation Entertainment, manages 10 casinos, a horse racing track, two dozen restaurants, multiple entertainment venues, retail shops, fuel/convenience stores, golf courses, tourist welcome centers, museums, hotels and an RV campground. With 30 years of experience in the gaming and hospitality industry, CNB leads the Oklahoma gaming market. The company was the first to open a resort-style casino hotel destination in the state and the first to open a Las-Vegas style concert venue. CNB prides itself on being the employer of choice and contributes significantly to Cherokee Nation’s $2.16 billion economic impact on northeast Oklahoma. For more information on CNB’s other gaming and resort properties, visit