Judge Rules Against Illegal Gaming Devices in St. Francis County

November 22, 2017 | Posted in Gambling | By

A judge in St. Francis County recently ruled against gambling machines operated by the company Arkansas Amusements.

The company apparently owns several gambling-style machines across the state, and has tried to justify the machines by paying taxes on their revenue.

In his ruling against the machines, the judge wrote,

Illegal gaming devices do not become legal by paying taxes on them. Plaintiffs allegation that skill or dexterity is involved does not make the illegal gaming devices legal.

This is a good ruling. We have written repeatedly about the proliferation of illegal gambling machines in Arkansas. With the exception of the state lottery and the casinos and racetracks in Hot Springs and West Memphis, Arkansas law generally prohibits gambling.

Some of Arkansas’ anti-gambling laws are vague. Others have been on the books for nearly a century — long before the Internet and electronic gaming. As a result, we are hearing  reports of illegal gambling houses opening in some parts of the state.

Earlier this year authorities in Saline County arrested several people in connection with four gambling houses. In August authorities in Jefferson County raided two gambling houses and indicated they might raid others in the future. We have heard rumors of similar establishments in east Arkansas.

These gambling houses often use machines that look more like video games than traditional slot machines or card games. Some attorneys consider them legally “gray” — the machines probably are illegal, but the case against them isn’t always black and white.

From what we are hearing, these gambling houses sometimes locate in former liquor stores or old gas stations. They may look like legitimate businesses, but — as this judge’s ruling in St. Francis County indicates — their activities could be illegal.

We plan to work with lawmakers and prosecutors to clarify state laws and ensure our existing anti-gambling laws are enforced.

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

Authorities Raid Jefferson Co. Gambling Houses

August 30, 2017 | Posted in Gambling | By

In Family Council’s September update letter, we highlighted the proliferation of illegal gambling houses in Arkansas.

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

However, we are hearing more reports of illegal gambling houses opening in some parts of Arkansas.

This week authorities in Jefferson County raided two suspected gambling houses–and they indicated other raids could happen in the future.

From what we have gleaned so far, one of these gambling houses appears to have been located in or near an old gas station; the other appears to have been located in a former or current bar or liquor store.

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

Attorney General Rejects Casino Proposal

May 25, 2017 | Posted in Casinos, Gambling | By

Last week Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge rejected a proposed constitutional amendment legalizing casinos in Arkansas.

The A.G. called the proposal’s ballot title, “very confusing to the point of being nonsensical.”

As far as we can tell, the proposal effectively would have allowed casinos in any municipality with a population greater than 20,000 people.

This is not the first time efforts have been made to bring casino gambling to Arkansas. In 2005 the Arkansas Legislature passed legislation paving the way for “electronic games of skill” at Arkansas’ racetracks; these games look and function much like traditional casino games.

Constitutional amendments legalizing casino gambling elsewhere in Arkansas have been proposed almost every election year–including last year.

And the Arkansas Lottery has tried in the past to expand its gambling operation to include casino-style games such as keno.

There are no two ways about it: Gambling is a blight on the community; we have seen time and time again how it hurts families and ruins lives. That’s why we oppose any effort to expand gambling in Arkansas.