Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Dave and Buster's behind gambling expansion bill; Oaklawn casino opposed

Posted By on Wed, Mar 11, 2015 at 7:30 AM

click to enlarge YOU PAYS YOUR MONEY: And, if you win at Dave and Buster's, you can claim prizes such as these.
  • YOU PAYS YOUR MONEY: And, if you win at Dave and Buster's, you can claim prizes such as these.

KATV dug up the specific reason for a bill we mentioned earlier, Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson's proposal  to dramatically expand prizes that can be awarded for playing coin-operated games.

Hutchinson wants to change the "Chuck E. Cheese law," which allows award of about $12 in trinkets to players of arcade games, to $850 in wholesale value merchandise on play of a single game. That's some real gambling.

Hutchinson tells KATV the bill would encourage Dave and Buster's — the bar, restaurant and games arcade chain — to put a location in Little Rock's new outlet mall in Otter Creek. However, Hutchinson said Oaklawn Park, which operates a big casino less than 50 miles away, has expressed "concerns." That likely means they don't want the competition for their slot machines,.

Hutchinson disingenuously tells KATV that it looks like a no-brainer to him to facilitate a gambling arcade with lots of jobs in Otter Creek,

Take a look at SB 745. It would allow big prizes on any conceivable kind of game, without limitation.  It allows an award of a prize of an "electronic device" worth up to $850 wholesale. (How many iPads would that be for a lucky player to resell?)

The law would open the door to gambling machines anywhere — convenience stores, truck stops, taverns, restaurants.

You've heard of the camel's nose in the tent? This is  like the trunk of an elephant, which could suction up millions.

I'm where I've always been on gambling. It makes no sense for Oaklawn and Southland to have a duopoly on casino gambling in the state built on the artifice that they somehow should be entitled because they race dogs and horses. (Dog-racing, particularly, is a nearly dead and abusive "sport" that stays alive only to allow the tracks to become casinos.) If we're going to expand gambling, let's expand gambling, not pretend it's just a friendly little arcade game.

UPDATE: The bill is reportedly being amended to restrict its application to Pulaski County, with a $500 prize limit and a restriction on games to prevent any that mirror Oaklawn's slots. Sounds like a little ol' piece of local legislation to me. 

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