Family Council Opposes Amendment to Legalize Casino-Style Games Under Lottery

On August 30 the group Arcade Arkansas filed an amendment to legalize coin-operated machines under the auspices of the Arkansas Lottery.

Family Council President Jerry Cox issued a statement saying,

“This amendment will bring casino-type gambling machines into convenience stores and eating places all over Arkansas.  It will turn the corner convenience store into a casino and create hangouts where people can gamble 24 hours a day.  This amendment is not about helping students or veterans.   This amendment allocates absolutely no money for scholarships or veterans.  Instead, it turns all the money over to Arkansas’ failing lottery.  It allows up to 15,000 gambling machines with little or no oversight to prevent fraud.  The state of Georgia has spent years trying to dig itself out of the crime these machines and their owners brought to the state. “

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Oaklawn Casino Opens Sports Betting, Renames “Electronic Games of Skill” As Slot Machines

This week the casino at Oaklawn in Hot Springs began accepting bets of sporting events.

Gamblers will be able to wager on everything from professional golf to NASCAR races and from college football to Olympic events.

Gambling on sports is just a bad idea all around. Athletes already face enough pressure as it is. Nothing good is going to come of it if fans have big money riding on whether or not a 20-year-old college quarterback can throw a touchdown pass.

Interestingly, since becoming a full-fledged casino, Oaklawn has re-branded several of its so-called “electronic games of skill.”

Up until this year, the racetracks in Hot Springs and West Memphis let people gamble on electronic games that, in theory, required some level of skill to play and win.

In 2007 Family Council Action Committee filed a lawsuit over the “electronic games of skill.” Attorneys for Oaklawn and Southland assured people that even though these electronic games looked a lot like casino games, they really weren’t.

Fast-forward to 2019. Now that Oaklawn and Southland can offer casino games, some of these “electronic games of skill” from years past apparently are being re-designated as slot machines.

For example, Oaklawn has offered games like Willy Wonka Pure Imagination and Zeus: Son of Kronos since at least 2017. Once upon a time these were electronic games of skill. Now Oaklawn’s website lists them as slot games.

Racing Commission Approves Quapaw Casino in Pine Bluff

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports the state Racing Commission approved a proposal this week for the Quapaw Nation of Oklahoma to build a casino in Pine Bluff.

The commission also reportedly rejected five bids to build casinos in Russellville — including a proposal by the Cherokee Nation Business of Catoosa, Oklahoma.

Last year the Quapaw Tribe and Cherokee Nation spent millions of dollars passing a state constitutional amendment authorizing four casinos in Arkansas.

The amendment makes Oaklawn in Hot Springs and Southland in West Memphis full-fledged casinos, and it lets the Racing Commission authorize two other casinos to operate in Jefferson County and Pope County respectively.

The amendment was written in such a way that wealthy casino corporations already operating out-of-state have an easier time meeting the criteria for running a casino in Arkansas.

As we’ve written before, counties with gambling in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi continue to struggle with poverty, despite promises that casinos can be an economic boon.

Photo By Ralf Roletschek [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons.