Yesterday the Secretary of State certified a proposed constitutional amendment legalizing four casinos in Arkansas for the November 6 General Election ballot.
The amendment, Issue 4, would convert the racetracks in Hot Springs and West Memphis into full fledged casinos, and it would let casinos open in or near Russellville and Pine Bluff.
According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, at a news conference in the Capitol yesterday, Governor Hutchinson told reporters,
I will vote ‘no’ on the casino amendment because I have always opposed the expansion of casino gambling in Arkansas.
The campaign to pass Issue 4 largely has been bankrolled by the Quapaw and Cherokee tribes in Oklahoma, which together have donated more than $2 million to the casino measure.
Last week the Arkansas Department of Transportation criticized the advertising tactics the measure’s backers are using. Campaign material in support of Issue 4 indicates that casino tax money will provide funding for highway improvement. However, the amendment itself does not earmark any casino tax revenue for highways. Ultimately, state and local officials will decide how that tax money will be spent.
The following press release is from Family Council Action Committee.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Little Rock – On Wednesday the Arkansas Secretary of State certified a state constitutional amendment authorizing four casinos in Arkansas for the November ballot.
Family Council Action Committee Executive Director Jerry Cox released a statement, saying, “This is a bad amendment. It lets Oaklawn in Hot Springs and Southland in West Memphis offer all the gambling they want, and it lets gambling companies from other states build casinos in Pine Bluff and Russellville. Arkansas just doesn’t need any more gambling.”
Cox said casino gambling is a blight on the community and will not help the economy. “If casinos produce jobs and bolster the economy, then Mississippi and Oklahoma ought to be thriving, but they aren’t. Poverty in Tunica County, Mississippi, is just as bad as it is across the river in Lee County, Arkansas. If you drive through eastern Oklahoma, it’s obvious the casinos are making money, but the people who live there are struggling to get by. Researchers consistently link casino gambling with divorce, domestic violence, homelessness, and substance abuse. There’s just no way casinos are going to improve our communities.”
Cox said it is clear the Cherokee and Quapaw tribes in Oklahoma hope to build casinos in Arkansas if this amendment passes. “The Cherokee and Quapaw tribes both are backing this amendment, and leaders from the Quapaw Tribe have said over and over again they want to put a casino in Pine Bluff. Oaklawn and Southland already offer a lot of casino games at their racetracks, but this amendment lets them offer even more—including betting on ballgames and possibly Internet gambling. This isn’t about building roads or helping Arkansans. It’s about wealthy casinos expanding their business and fleecing our people out of their hard-earned money.”
Cox said his group will fight the casino amendment. “All options are on the table. We are considering a legal challenge to have the court strike the amendment from the ballot. We plan to educate voters about the amendment between now and Election Day. Arkansas already suffers enough from gambling as it is. We don’t need any more.”
Family Council Action Committee is a conservative 501(c) (4) organization based in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Photo Credit: 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
This week a group working to legalize four casinos in Arkansas submitted additional petition signatures to place their proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot.
Watch the video below to learn more.