Slot Machine Group Spends $77K on Petition Drive

In February the group Arcade Arkansas spent more than $77,000 on its effort to put a gambling-machine amendment on the ballot this November, according to documents filed with the Arkansas Ethics Commission earlier this month.

The group’s proposal would legalize some 15,000 gambling machines statewide under the Arkansas Lottery and could create miniature casinos all over the state — with little or no oversight to prevent fraud or corruption.

In February the State Lottery Director came out against the proposal.

While the group has put serious money into its effort to amend the Arkansas Constitution, Arcade Arkansas reportedly has suspended its petition drive amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Meanwhile, the group Protect Arkansas Communities received approximately $400,000 in February from the corporations that own the casinos at Oaklawn, Southland, and Saracen.

Protect Arkansas Communities is opposing Arcade Arkansas’ gambling amendment.

Casino gambling is linked to homelessness, domestic violence, divorce, and bankruptcy.

Arkansas’ counties with casinos also have high poverty rates.

To put it plainly, gambling is a blight on the community.

Arkansas already has enough problems from casino gambling. We don’t need any more.

Photo Credit: Win win win! by Domas Mituzas, on Flickr

How The COVID-19 Stimulus Bill Helps Churches

Last week Congress passed the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES)” Act.

The bill was signed into law by President Trump on Friday.

It provides approximately $2 trillion in relief and economic stimulus in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Our friends at Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. have analyzed the ways in which the measure helps churches and other non-profits.

They have identified four key areas affecting churches:

  • Direct loans to small businesses, nonprofits, and churches
  • Incentivizing giving to churches and nonprofits
  • Unemployment insurance assistance for those who work for nonprofits
  • Encouraging and aiding churches’ responses to the coronavirus outbreak

They also highlight paid medical and sick leave requirements that may implicate nonprofits and churches.

You can read more about Family Research Council’s findings here.

Small Business Loans

According to Family Research Council, the CARES Act creates federally-guaranteed loans for small businesses and other entities, including nonprofit organizations.

The loans cover eight weeks of necessary expenses.

Tax Incentives and Unemployment Insurance

The bill creates additional tax incentives for charitable giving, which will help churches and nonprofits, and it offers unemployment insurance to employees of nonprofits and charities.

FRC writes that “the CARES Act expands unemployment insurance to help those who are without work because of the coronavirus outbreak. This bill creates a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Program that will run through the end of the year. The program provides unemployment benefits for those who do not usually qualify, including religious workers, the self-employed, independent contractors, and those with limited work history. It also covers the first week of lost wages in states that do not cover the first week a person is unemployed.”

Additional Grant Money for Charitable Programs

The CARES Act allocates additional funding for Community Service Block grants. These grants are federally funded and awarded through the state government. The money can be used to fight poverty in local communities.

Under the CARES Act, churches and charities may be able to apply for additional government funding to help serve members of their communities.

Learn more at FRC’s website.