Police Raid Illegal Gambling Operations in Central Arkansas

Earlier this week we learned that Jacksonville law enforcement raided illegal gambling operations at several gas stations and businesses.

Police reportedly executed search warrants and confiscated illegal gambling machines at:

  • Bucks Country Store
  • Citgo Flash Market
  • Citgo T-Ricks
  • Feeze Kutz
  • Han’s Citgo
  • Heards and Q Tee’s
  • Hi-Life Market
  • OK Mart / Valero
  • Roadrunner Dist.
  • Victory Express
  • 501 Vapes

With the exception of the state lottery and the casinos in Hot Springs, West Memphis, and Pine Bluff, Arkansas law generally prohibits gambling.

This isn’t the first time illegal gambling machines have cropped up in Arkansas.

In 2017 authorities in Jefferson County reportedly raided illegal gambling houses in Pine Bluff, and a judge in St. Francis County ruled against illegal gambling machines operated by the company Arkansas Amusements.

Typically these gambling machines are placed in gas stations, liquor stores, or old store fronts.

Some look and operate a lot like slot machines while others appear more like arcade games that let players gamble for money or prizes.

A proposed ballot measure would legalize games like these under the auspices of the Arkansas Lottery. If passed, gambling machines could be installed legally in gas stations, convenience stores, and other businesses as part of the state lottery — meaning many businesses would be able to operate mini-casinos in communities throughout Arkansas.

Gambling is a blight on the community. It is linked to bankruptcy, divorce, substance abuse, domestic violence, and suicide.

If you suspect an illegal gambling house is operating in your community, please notify your local authorities. Then call us at (501) 375-7000.

Pope County Quorum Court Caves to Casinos

This week the Pope County Quorum Court voted to repeal a local ordinance that requires voter approval before a casino can be built in the county.

Amendment 100 to the Arkansas Constitution passed in 2018 authorizes casinos in Jefferson County and Pope County, and it converts the racetracks in Garland and Crittenden counties into full-fledged casinos.

Last November voters in Pope County soundly rejected the casino amendment and overwhelmingly supported a local ordinance that requires county officials to let voters decide first whether or not to authorize a casino in the county.

Earlier this year the quorum court endorsed a casino proposal from the Cherokee Nation without first putting the matter to the voters. That decision prompted a lawsuit from citizens in Pope County.

The quorum court apparently voted to repeal the ordinance this week in an effort to undercut that lawsuit.

The day after the quorum court voted to repeal the ordinance, a circuit judge declared the ordinance unconstitutional, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Under normal circumstances, the judge’s bad ruling on the ordinance could be appealed to a higher court. Since the quorum court voted to repeal the ordinance, there’s really no point in asking a higher court to overturn the judge’s ruling.

The quorum court’s decision paves the way for a casino corporation from out of state to open a casino in Russellville.

That’s clearly not what voters want, based on last November’s election, and it’s going to hurt the community.

Meanwhile the Quapaw Tribe is operating slot machines at its “casino annex” in Pine Bluff, and a group is working to legalize casino-style games under Arkansas’ state lottery.

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.