Senator proposes to legalize local option gambling | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Senator proposes to legalize local option gambling

Posted By on Tue, Feb 28, 2017 at 7:36 AM

LOCAL OPTION GAMBLING: Sen. Scott Flippo has a bill to legalize it.
  • LOCAL OPTION GAMBLING: Sen. Scott Flippo has a bill to legalize it.
Note a new legislative proposal from Sen. Scott Flippo of Bull Shoals: It's nothing more than a proposal to legalize certain forms of gambling in Arkansas.

The bill would prohibit the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division from enforcing laws regarding gambling machines. ABC agents have been forcing them out ofmany places around the state that have tried to sneak gambling machines in under various pretexts. Several legislators have objected to the enforcement on behalf of constituents making money off the machines.

Flippo's bill would also legalize "pull-tab" gambling cards (sort of slot machines on paper) and give prosecuting attorneys discretion to define gaming devices in each county.

It is hard to imagine this legislation passing. But I've said that about a steady stream of horrors heading now to the statute books.  How it would comply with the Arkansas Constitution is another good question.

For years, the understanding was that the Arkansas Constitution prohibits gambling. And, yet, we have full-fledged casinos in West Memphis and Hot Springs. (The pretext is that they are games of skill.) This has only encouraged the scofflaws.

The lottery, with its scratch-off games akin to pull tabs, was at least authorized by constitutional amendment.

UPDATE: I should note that Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, wearing his lawyer hat, filed a suit in St. Francis Circuit Court last year on behalf of an amusement machine business challenging rules hindering use of the games.

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