Rutledge rejects casino gambling amendment | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Rutledge rejects casino gambling amendment

Posted By on Thu, May 12, 2016 at 4:33 PM

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has rejected the form of a proposed constitutional amendment to expand casino gambling in Arkansas.

I wrote earlier this week that a committee, Arkansas Wins, had been formed to authorize casinos in Boone, Washington and Miller Counties, with backers including some Missouri investors who participated in a failed effort to get a casino amendment on the 2012 ballot. The only casinos authorized in Arkansas currently operate at racetracks in Hot Springs and West Memphis.

Rutledge said in her opinion — as she often does — that there were ambiguities in the text and a lack of a compete description in the ballot title.

The amendment calls for each casino to be operated by an LLC, presumably to be controlled by those putting the amendment on the ballot. It would establish a regulatory commission and dedicate 18 percent of net gambling revenues — excess over payout to gamblers — to general revenue and specify that all other traditional forms of taxation on for-profit businesses would apply. It would allow around-the-clock alcohol sales in each casino.

The opinion faulted the definition of casino gaming and said it was unclear what was meant by saying any games legal in Nevada and several other states with casinos would mean when applied to Arkansas. Would a device have to be legal in all states, or only one, Rutledge asked. She also wondered if the definition could apply to games operated by Indian casinos in those states.

The amendment is unclear on authority granted to the legislature versus that granted the regulatory commission the opinion said. 

If approved as to form, backers can gather signatures to put the measure on the ballot, but have only two months to gather more than 85,000 signatures to reach the November ballot. Such campaigns typically rely on paid canvassers and opponents of ballot measures scour petitions for flaws in the canvassing process. Existing casinos have traditionally resisted other gambling expansion ideas in the state.

UPDATE: Robert Coon of Impact Management, a consulting firm working for the casino amendment backers, issued this statement:

“Arkansas Wins in 2016 is committed to putting this issue before the voters. We believe that passage of the Amendment will be a catalyst for economic development, job creation, tourism, and increased tax revenues for the state and for surrounding communities. The Committee will work diligently to address points that require clarification in accordance with the Attorney General’s letter and plan to resubmit the proposal promptly with the necessary revisions. Subsequently, we look forward to receiving the Attorney General’s certification and beginning the signature gathering process to put this issue before the Arkansas voters this November.”

Tags: , ,

Sign up for the Daily Update email

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Women's March planned in Arkansas to mark Trump inauguration

    Speaking of Donald Trump and in answer to a reader's question: There will be a women's march in Arkansas on Jan. 21, the day after inauguration, as well as the national march planned in Washington.
    • Dec 30, 2016
  • LR Police Chief Buckner in running for Charleston, S.C. job

    KATV reports that Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner is one of five finalists for the job of police chief in Charleston, S.C., and will be visit Charleston next week as part of the process.
    • Feb 2, 2018
  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation