Three Things We Can Do About The Court Ruling on Sports Betting

May 17, 2018 | Posted in Gambling | By

On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court ruled states can legalize sports betting.

The decision sets the stage for states like Arkansas to become awash in a sea of gambling. State law already generally prohibits betting on ballgames and other sporting events, but gambling interests likely will start lobbying heavily to have those laws changed.

Some of our friends are asking what they can do about this court ruling. Here are three things:

1. Oppose Casino Amendments in Arkansas

At least two constitutional amendments legalizing casino gambling in Arkansas are vying for a spot on the November ballot. Casino proposals rejected in the past would have allowed any form of gambling that is legal in Nevada.

Sports betting is legal in Nevada right now. If our laws let casinos in Arkansas offer the same forms of gambling that casinos in Las Vegas offer, then that would include sports betting.

Opposing any casino amendments in Arkansas is one way we can ensure sports betting doesn’t work its way into our state.

2. Encourage the Legislature to Oppose Sports Betting

The racetracks at Oaklawn and Southland already offer casino-style games, and last December consultants for the State of Arkansas floated the idea of letting them offer sports betting as well.

We need to encourage our legislators not to authorize sports betting at Oaklawn or Southland.

3. Encourage Our U.S. Senators and Congressmen to Regulate Sports Betting

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling struck down a federal law that effectively gave Las Vegas a monopoly on sports betting in America, but it left the door open for Congress to restrict and regulate sports betting through other federal laws. All four professional sports leagues — the NBA, NFL, National Hockey League, and Major League Baseball — as well as the NCAA oppose sports betting.

We need to encourage our congressmen to regulate sports betting as much as they possibly can.

Here’s Why We Need to Oppose Sports Betting

Sports betting in particular poses a problem, because of its appeal to young people who are more likely to develop a gambling problem.

Sports betting also threatens to undermine the integrity of collegiate and professional sports. Many sports programs work hard to maintain family-friendly environments that young and old alike can enjoy. Sports betting threatens to corrupt those family-friendly programs. That is one reason so many leagues have opposed efforts to legalize sports betting.

As a whole, gambling is a blight on the community. It is linked to homelessness, domestic violence, divorce, and a host of other issues. Problem gambling and gambling addiction tear families apart. Arkansas already has enough trouble from gambling. We don’t need any more.

Photo Credit: The original uploader was Bobak at English Wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

Group Sidesteps Attorney General in Casino Bid

April 19, 2018 | Posted in Casinos | By

Recently we have written about efforts by the Quapaw Tribe in Oklahoma and the group Driving Arkansas Forward to build casinos in Arkansas.

Under their proposed constitutional amendment, four casinos would be authorized in Garland, Crittenden, Pope, and Jefferson counties. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has rejected wording for the proposal multiple times, citing ambiguities in the measure’s ballot title.

This week the group asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to approve the measure’s wording and let them start gathering petition signatures to place the casino amendment on the 2018 ballot — despite the fact the Attorney General’s office has said the measure’s wording is deficient.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports lawyers for Driving Arkansas Forward told the Arkansas Supreme Court that the A.G. has abused her duties in failing to approve the casino amendment.

I am not aware of any past group sidestepping the Arkansas Attorney General’s office this way. Instead of working with the A.G. to write an unambiguous ballot proposal — the way pas groups have done — Driving Arkansas Forward is asking the Arkansas Supreme Court to usurp the Attorney General’s authority.

Casino gambling is linked to homelessness, domestic violence, divorce, and bankruptcy. It’s a blight on the community. Arkansas already has enough problems from gambling. We don’t need any more.

The Attorney General was right to reject this casino proposal; the Arkansas Supreme Court should do the same.

A.G. Rejects Another Casino Amendment

April 12, 2018 | Posted in Casinos | By

This week Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to open four casinos in Siloam Springs, AR; Texarkana, AR; Omaha, AR; and the Little Rock area.

The A.G.’s office rejected the proposal due to ambiguities in the amendment’s ballot title.

This casino amendment reportedly is backed by the group Arkansas Wins, who sponsored a similar measure in 2016.

The Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma gave Arkansas Wins $6 million in 2016 to fund their casino proposal, but it ultimately was removed from the ballot at the last minute. The Cherokee Nation also would have operated one of the casinos the 2016 amendment authorized. It is not clear at this point if the Cherokee Nation would operate casinos under the 2018 proposal.

Meanwhile, The group Driving Arkansas Forward has partnered with the Quapaw Indian Tribe in Oklahoma to bring casino gambling to Arkansas. They’ve submitted ballot proposals for casinos in Jefferson, Garland, Pope, and Crittenden counties. The Quapaw’s leadership has said they want to put a casino in Pine Bluff. Fortunately, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has blocked their proposals as well.

Casino gambling is linked to homelessness, domestic violence, divorce, and bankruptcy. It’s a blight on the community. Arkansas already has enough problems from gambling. We don’t need any more.

You can read the A.G.’s entire opinion here.