Lawsuit challenges casino amendment | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Lawsuit challenges casino amendment

Posted By on Wed, Sep 7, 2016 at 7:17 AM

A group opposing additional casinos in Arkansas asked the state Supreme Court yesterday to disqualify an enabling amendment currently approved for the November ballot.

The group — Committee to Protect Arkansas Values/Stop Casinos Nowsaid the ballot title of a proposed constitutional amendment is defective and it also questions whether the paid petition canvassers met the demanding terms of the Arkansas petition law.

Plaintiffs are Chuck Lange, a former sheriff, and Bill Walmsley, a former senator who's active in thoroughbred horse racing. Both have been active in past efforts to fight casino gambling proposals.

This year's committee hasn't yet disclosed financing, but Southland Gaming in West Memphis and Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs — operators of the only two casinos currently legal in Arkansas — have financed past efforts to oppose expansion of gambling in the state. Lawyers from the Friday Law Firm, whose clients include Oaklawn Park, and Wright, Lindsey and Jennings, which has represented Southland, filed the lawsuit.

Among other arguments, the lawsuit says the amendment delegates Arkansas's sovereign authority to other states by saying the three privately owned casinos authorized by the amendment would be allowed to engage in whatever gambling is legal in seven other states. The proposition also might lead voters to erroneously believe that it would allow bookmaking on sports events. It notes too that the amendment's authorization of sale of alcohol in the casinos could override state law if the casinos were to be located in currently "dry" portions of Boone, Miller and Washington counties, where the casinos would be authorized.

The lawsuit asks for an expedited hearing.

The amendment was proposed by Missouri investors hoping to control the three new casinos. They've said the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, an experienced casino operator, is a partner in the effort because it hopes to run a casino in Washington County.

UPDATE: The group opposing the amendment confirmed in the afternoon the backing of the state's two existing casinos. Their statement:

Troy Keeping - President and General Manager of The Southland Park Gaming and Racing and Eric Jackson - of the Oaklawn Jockey Club offered the following statement:

Oaklawn Jockey Club and Southland Park are opposed to Amendment 5, even though Amendment will not affect business at their two facilities. They stated, “They are opposed for the same reason Governor Hutchinson and others are opposed. It is a terrible and dishonest amendment that will be bad for our State. Arkansas will have no say over who gets the licenses, who operates the licenses or even what kind of gambling they can offer, since the type of gaming is defined by other States in the amendment. This is an open invitation to corruption and unimaginable forms of gambling. Worse, the people who live in communities where casinos will be located are being denied the right to vote on what they want in their own communities. It is not surprising that no state has ever voted for something like this.”

Tags: , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Judge Griffen: Why black lives matter

    Another few words from Judge Wendell Griffen growing from the controversy over the sale of Black Lives Matter T-shirts at the state black history museum — removed by the administration and restored after protests from Griffen and others stirred by a story in the Arkansas Times:
    • Mar 13, 2016
  • Today in Trump: Obstruction of justice anyone?

    It's the New York Times with the news today. Fired FBI Director James Comey kept notes of his talks with Donald Trump. A memo he wrote in February after a meeting with Trump said the president asked him to shut down the investigation into Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser.
    • May 16, 2017
  • LR speakers blast state board for double standard

    A series of speakers, beginning with Sen. Joyce Elliott, denounced what they saw as a hidden agenda favoring charter schools at the state Department of Education and asked the state Board of Education for return of local control.
    • May 12, 2016

Most Shared

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation