Yesterday Governor Hutchinson told reporters that passage of Issue 4 on Tuesday is going to create a $40 million budget shortfall for the state.
Hutchinson was asked about the passage of Issue 4 legalizing casinos at Oaklawn Racing & Gaming in Hot Springs, Southland Park Gaming & Racing in West Memphis, and in Pope and Jefferson counties. Hutchinson said he had voted against the amendment. It passed with 54% of the vote.
“My first budget meeting today showed a $40-plus million gap because that amendment passed,” he said. “That reduced the tax rate [for Oaklawn and Southland], and so we have to adjust for that down the road.”
Hutchinson said he didn’t know what the amendment’s long-term effects would be.
Under Issue 4, Oaklawn and Southland will pay less money in taxes for their casino games than they currently do for their so-called “electronic games of skill.”
Overall, casinos in Arkansas will pay some of the lowest taxes of any casinos in America, and the State Legislature will not be able to raise the taxes on casino revenue.
Instead of boosting Arkansas’ economy and providing more tax revenue, it seems Issue 4 is going to be a drain on the state from Day One.