the committee hoping to pass a proposed constitutional amendment (Issue 5) to allow casinos
in Boone, Miller and Washington counties, released a report they commissioned today that says the casinos would be an economic boon.
The report by Kyle Dean and Russell Evans of the Economic Impact group claims the casinos would create 3,200 jobs with $134 million in wages, on top of $148 million worth of construction jobs. More casino gambling also would create $122 million in gambling tax revenue and $600 million in capital expenditures.
Opponents of the casino, financed by existing casinos at Oaklawn and Southland parks, have said the amendment would be damaging to the state. They are fighting it in court and a preliminary ruling by a special master appointed by the Arkansas Supreme Court has raised questions about whether the measure will survive on account of challenged petition signatures.
Here's the full release.
Here's the economic study.
UPDATE: Opponents of the casino amendment blasted the report, calling it "a desperate attempt by shady out-of-state opportunists whose scheme to rig our constitution in their favor is being widely rejected by Arkansans."
Chuck Lange, chairman of the Stop Casinos Now group called the study propaganda written by consultants who also do work for the Cherokee Nation, which is underwriting the amendment and hopes to operate on of the casinos, in Washington County.
“The truth is, if this scheme were somehow to pass, then no one knows who will wind up with casino licenses other than two small time Missouri businessmen with absolutely no experience in the gaming industry. So it’s not possible to project what anyone would build, operate, or do. What we do know is that Arkansas will have no control over what these casino operators build. Judging from what these two out-of-state guys have been involved in so far, it wouldn’t be impressive,” concluded Lange.