On Thursday, a proposed ballot measure’s wording was rejected by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. The proposed constitutional amendment seeks to allow casino operation in three of the state’s counties.
In an opinion given by Rutledge, she states that the ballot proposal submitted by Cal McCastlain, an attorney with the Little Rock-based law firm of Dover Dixon Horne, seeking to allow the operation of casinos in Miller, Washington, and Bone counties contains ambiguous language and fails to provide a complete summarization of the proposed amendment within its title, according to various local sources.
Included in the proposal is the creation of a governor-appointed five-member state Gaming Commission, which would regulate the casinos and require them to pay the State of Arkansas an 18 percent tax on all gambling proceeds. It also calls for the casinos to be run by three limited liability companies.
Attorney General Rutledge’s certification is required before supporters of the proposed constitutional amendment can begin the process of gathering the 84,859 signatures needed to include the measure on November’s ballot. Interests from the construction, economic, and financial sectors are backing the efforts of a group named Arkansas Wins in 2016 to get the amendment passed. The group has hired local PR firm, Robert Coon with Impact Management, to help.
Casino gambling is strictly prohibited in Arkansas; however, the law does allow facilities that have parimutuel wagering on dog and horse races, currently only Southland Park Gaming & Racing in West Memphis and Oaklawn Park Racing & Gaming in Hot Springs, to also offer electronic games of skill, such as video poker and slot machines.