It was a good week for 'games of skill' 

It was a good week for ...

'GAMES OF SKILL.' Wagers on so-called "electronic games of skill" at Oaklawn in Hot Springs and Southland in West Memphis stand at $1.384 billion so far in 2013, according to figures from the Arkansas Racing Commission. Gamblers at Southland wagered $908.25 million on games like video poker and blackjack during the first five months of the year, while Oaklawn bettors laid out $476.27 million. That's good news for the state, which has seen tax revenue from "game of skill" wagers increase by 32 percent over last year. Not so good for the gamblers.

WINE LOVERS. More than 500 of them gathered in Argenta on Friday for the sold-out Arkansas Times Celebrate the Grape wine, food and jazz festival. More than 200 wines were available for sample.

A PROTEST. About 200 people, many of them Walmart employees, marched from the Bentonville town square to Alice Walton's Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art to protest the labor policies of the discount giant during the company's annual shareholders meeting, which drew more than 14,000 people this year.

CAMPAIGN ANNOUNCEMENTS. Highway commissioner and Little Rock businessman John Burkhalter and Little Rock School Board member Dianne Curry both announced as Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor. Sadly, Sen. Jason Rapert, who had said earlier that his family was "praying" over a run for the same position, announced that he would seek re-election as a senator, where he can do more damage. Lt. Gov. Mark Darr has not announced whether he'll seek re-election.

A DELAY. The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration gave ExxonMobil an extension to deliver a final report on what caused the corporation's Pegasus pipeline to rupture on March 29 in Mayflower. The report was initially due in mid-May.

It was a bad week for ...

THE BRADLEY COUNTY PINK TOMATO FESTIVAL. The annual event, scheduled for this weekend in Warren, will have crafts, food and music — but only finger-food size tomatoes, since the weather has hampered the crop.

U.S. REP. TOM COTTON. Never one to shy away from serving up half-baked ideas meant to stimulate the teabag vote, Arkansas's Fourth District congressman accused President Barack Obama of "court packing" after Obama nominated three judges to the D.C. circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. The president is constitutionally charged with nominating judges to fill vacancies on the federal bench, and there are three vacancies on the D.C. circuit.

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