Arkansas Voters To Decide Outcome Of Four Casinos

Arkansas Voters To Decide Outcome Of Four Casinos

The Supreme Court has empowered fellow citizens of Arkansas to mark their ballots on November 6th and decide whether four casino licenses will be issued in the state. Previously, the court declined two challenges to the proposal, disabling the state to issue gambling permits and admit sports wagering.

‘Misleading Ballot Title’

To be more specific, two campaign groups Ensuring Arkansas’ Future and Citizens for Local Choice submitted the challenges in order to stop Secretary of State, Mark Martin, to certify the votes on Issue 4, the official proposal.

Furthermore, the committees of both groups agreed that claiming the ballot title was insuficient and misleading, since it indicates necessity and almost forces the Racing Commission to issue the licenses. Additionally, the ballot name disregards important information and a statement from the court clearly indicated the opposite:

“…we conclude that this is not misleading. A popular name need not identify all future scenarios. The popular name is an identification tool and simply cannot explain every eventuality of the actual amendment.”

Strongly Opposed To Initiatives

The state of Arkansas has already rejected the initiative to push casinos in January 2018, when State Attorney General, Leslie Rutledge, turned down a plea for statewide referendum on gambling. It is said that Rutledge is backed by the state governor, Asa Hutchinson, one of the most popular political figures in the country at this moment.

Even though the study of a group of citizens indicated that almost 65 per cent of casino taxes could fund public roads, highways etc. Rutledge said that the group’s true motives are blurry and commented the following:

“In my opinion, there may be some question whether the words ‘Highway Funding Amendment’ in your proposed name fairly represent that feature of the proposed constitutional amendment. I cannot confidently predict whether the Court would say this language … is fatally misleading. Based on what has been submitted, my statutory duty is to reject your proposed ballot title.”

Later in August, the group tried to collect the necessary amount of signatures, but the process got stuck at 70,054, as 26,000 were declared invalid.

Oblivious To Economic Impact

At the same time, a group in support of retaining casinos and allowing sports betting within the territory’s borders, Driving Arkansas Forward, funded another study and concluded that the admittance of wagering services could have a massive economic impact on the state’s budget, as it could generate 6,000 jobs…

Unlike the proposed changes to Arkansas’ casino legislation in 2000, when more than 309,000 people supported the proposal, it is expected that the next ballot could have a bigger effect on the landscape than in other states such as Delaware, Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island – territories that already passed the vote.

Source:

“Arkansas court clears way for public casino vote”, Matthew Enderby, gamblinginsider.com, October 15, 2018.

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