People of Arkansas Approve Casino Licensing

People of Arkansas Approve Casino Licensing

As an aftermath of Tuesday’s midterm elections in Arkansas, the voters of this state have approved the Issue 4 Amendment which will allow state lawmakers to allocate licenses to four casinos – two existing venues and other two that will be authorized in counties Jefferson and Pope.

Hot Springs’ Oaklawn Racing and Gaming and West Memphis’ Southland Park Gaming and Racing will transform into full-fledged casinos following this result and will be adding sports betting along with table games – blackjack, poker etc.

Important Step Forward

To date, both venues have been offering electronic skill games which were allowed according to the 2005 state law. This will now be expanded to include table games and sportsbooks – the latter of which have been the most popular form of gambling across the United States since the liberalization of sports betting.

As for the future casinos in Jefferson and Pope counties, these will be granted legit licenses only if the local officials provide necessary support and potential operators pay the $250,000 application fee. These new venues must also be located in the relative vicinity of Russellville and Pine Bluff communities.

Issue 4 was supported by a narrow margin, with 453,275 votes “for” and 384,526 votes “against”.

Committee The Driving Arkansas Forward has sponsored the Issue 4 cause by collecting more than $7 million and spending almost $7 million on related activities.

Exciting Times vs. Bad Times

Alex Gray, the Driving Arkansas Forward committee counsel, said that the outcome of the voting is “very exciting” and that voters simply responded to the committee’s promptness to “keep the tax dollars in the state and to create jobs in order to foster economic development”.

He added that, as a result of the ballot measure, Southland wishes to invest $200 million into the new casino. However, the opposition of this measure, such as Jerry Cox, who is president of the Family Council Action Committee, regretted that this outcome came to be, citing the lack of money as a main reason for the defeat of his cause.

“We would have mounted an aggressive campaign if we had the money, but people didn’t step up and provide the money. said Cox.

One of the most outspoken critics of the Issue 4 was the state Governor, Asa Hutchinson, who admitted that he did not support the initiative and is still concerned over the negative impact it may have. Hutchinson added in a written statement:

“But the people have spoken, and I respect their will. Time will tell as to what this means for our state, and it remains to be seen as to whether the communities affected will consent to the gambling initiative.”


“Casino measure wins Arkansas voters’ support”, Michael R. Wickline,, November 7th, 2018.

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