Arkansas may shortly be composed up to four fully-fledged casinos after Tuesday allegedly saw voters in the southern state narrowly approve Issue 4 as part of the ‘mid-term elections’.
According to a Wednesday report by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette paper, the verdict has changed the state’s constitution in order to Permit Oaklawn Racing and Gaming from the city of Hot Springs Together with West Memphis’ Southland Park Gambling and Racing to change into regional casinos out of Wednesday. Both facilities had offered electronic skill matches under a 2005 state law but will now purportedly be able to expand their portfolios to incorporate sportsbetting and table games like poker and blackjack.
Pair of new facilities:
In addition, the passing of Issue 4 (pdf) is to allegedly observe the Arkansas Racing Commission authorize one casino each for the more rural Pope County and Jefferson County provided that the prospective operators agree to pay a $250,000 ‘permit application fee’ and can ‘demonstrate expertise in playing casino gambling ’. The change moreover supposedly mandates that the forthcoming facilities be located ‘over two miles’ of those communities of Russellville and Pine Bluff respectively with future licensees necessary to ‘submit a letter of support from the county judge or a settlement from the county quorum court’.
Seeing tax, the passing of Issue 4 allegedly usually means that the four forthcoming casinos would be to have their first $150,000 in annual net gaming receipts evaluated at a rate of 13 percent with any subsequent earnings exposed to a 20 percent obligation. What’s more, the places are to supposedly be able to operate around-the-clock and serve alcohol to people over the age of 21 even if they’re located in a ‘dry’ community or county.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that Tuesday saw 54.09% of voters approve Issue 4 against some 45.91% that had cast their ballot in opposition. Despite this close margin, Alex Gray from the pro-gambling Driving Arkansas Forward committee supposedly described the verdict as ‘very fascinating ’ because the state will then be able to produce more jobs, foster economic development and also retain tax dollars which have been moving to casinos in the neighboring authorities of Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri and Oklahoma.
Opposition laments shortage of money:
But not everybody agrees and Jerry Cox, President for the anti-casino Family Council Action Committee, allegedly told the paper that it had become ‘next to impossible to win’ the argument due to how the pro-gambling lobby had invested close to $7 million to advertise the benefits of passing Issue 4.
Cox to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette…
“We would have mounted an aggressive campaign if we had the money but people didn’t measure up and provide the money.
The paper noted that Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson was one of the most outspoken critics of Issue 4 amid concerns that its passage could lead to the state receiving approximately $36 million fewer tax dollars for 2020. The just re-elected Republican supposedly told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that he continues ‘to have great concern within the immediate and negative impact on the state’s budget’ but today plans to respect the decision of Republicans.
Hutchinson to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette…
“Time will tell about exactly what this means for our state and it remains to be seen as to whether the communities affected will probably consent to the gambling initiative.