Hello, Vegas | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hello, Vegas

Posted By on Tue, Sep 23, 2008 at 6:26 AM

Wow. Lawyers for Lt. Gov. Bill Halter's pro-lottery committee filed to intervene in the lawsuit seeking to remove the state lottery amendment from the ballot. One notable argument addresses the contention that the amendment's description is insufficient because it could open the door to unforseen forms of gambling, casino-style even. The response, from this morning's D-G:

The attorneys for Hope for Arkansas said the proposed amendment would have no effect one way or the other on “casino gaming.”

“This is a classic red herring,” the filing said. “‘Casino gaming’ is prohibited by statute in Arkansas, not by the Constitution. Neither the existing constitutional prohibition on lotteries nor the proposed measure prohibit ‘casino gaming.’”

Wow. If this theory prevails, Katy bar the casino door. For decades, the legislature has operated under the belief that the anti-lottery prohibition in the Constitution was the rock upon which the state's casino ban was built. We have racinos at Oaklawn and Southland now, but only under the slim and untested reed that playing blackjack and poker and games suspiciously like roulette are games of skill, particularly if done by TV screen rather than by real cards.

Only a legislative vote stands between the Oaklawn and Southland racinos and full-bore monopoly casinos? Or, for that matter, casinos anywhere else the legislature would like to put them? Wow. I probably should mention that this means the state lottery could just as easily morph into a state casino by their argument. Remember, a vote of the legislature will be required to enable the lottery, in whatever form it takes.

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