In Arkansas, officials have reportedly released a study that indicates the southern state would receive less money should voters approve a casino-legalizing constitutional amendment that could still make its way onto the November 6 ballot.
According to a Sunday report from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper, the investigation conducted by the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration found that the state would be poorer to the tune of around $36 million in each of the first two years following the opening of the four proposed casinos.
The newspaper reported that the examination also found that these drops would be followed by an around $14 million reduction in the third year all due to the fact that the proposed constitutional amendment would establish a 13% tax rate on any net gaming receipts under $150 million followed by a 20% charge on all takings above this amount.
Four casinos proposed:
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that the successful passage of the constitutional amendment would see Oaklawn Racing and Gaming in the city of Hot Springs alongside West Memphis’ Southland Park Gaming and Racing given permission to transform into full-blown casinos from November 14. These venues currently offer electronic gaming machines and have their net gaming revenues taxed at 18%.
The newspaper reported that the successful passage of the ballot question would license one casino each for Pope County and Jefferson County but that state officials believe that these venues would further exacerbate the tax shortfall because they would not be ready to open until 2022.
Pro-casino committees given more time:
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that the proposed casino-legalizing constitutional amendment is being promoted by the Arkansas Jobs Coalition and Driving Arkansas Forward committees. Mark Martin, Arkansas Secretary of State, recently gave the pair until August 24 to collect the 84,859 signatures required to get the measure before voters after their original effort came up short by about 15,000 names.
Proponents’ projections ‘based on actual revenues’:
However, in defending the casino-legalizing measure, Nate Steel from Driving Arkansas Forward and Arkansas Jobs Coalition committees reportedly told the newspaper that the four gambling venues would contribute approximately $120 million a year in tax…
He detailed that this would encompass roughly $66 million for the state as well as about $33 million for host cities and counties with the race purses at Southland Park Gaming and Racing and Oaklawn Racing and Gaming benefiting by around $21 million.
Steel to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette…
“Our conservative estimates are based on actual revenues from electronic games of skill and feasibility studies of full-scale casino gaming in two new locations. No matter the estimate, keeping every tax dollar we can in Arkansas is better than losing the millions and millions out-of-state casinos currently take away from us.”