Revived push for casinos in Arkansas
In an effort to bring more casinos to Arkansas, a group has submitted a proposed constitutional amendment to Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, who will review it and either certify the submission or send it back, according to local news sources.
The proposal seeks the possibility of developing three casinos in the state, one each in Miller, Boone, and Washington Counties. If the group, Arkansas Wins in 2016, succeeds in its plan and the Attorney General approves the wording of the proposed amendment, it would then need to obtain 84,859 signatures, a significant portion of which would come from 15 different counties, before July.
Interests from the construction, economic, and financial sectors are backing the group’s effort. And to help get its message out, the group has hired a local PR firm. Robert Coon with Impact Management, said, “It will open the door for economic development, tourism, jobs and tax revenue into the state that is currently going out of the state,” as reported by arkansasmatters.com.
While casino gambling is strictly prohibited in Arkansas, the law does allow facilities that have parimutuel wagering on dog and horse races, currently only Southland Park Gaming & Racing in West Memphis and Oaklawn Park Racing & Gaming in Hot Springs, to also offer electronic games of skill. Included are machines for blackjack and video poker and slot machines.
An attempt was made in 2012 to allow the expansion of casinos into four other counties, but they failed to qualify. This time, however, backers say they possess the financial resources necessary to be successful. An 18 percent addition to the state’s general fund is outlined in the proposal.
In related news, the non-Indian Oaklawn Park facility is being blamed by the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma for impeding its land-into-trust efforts in Arkansas.