In the southern American state of Arkansas and voters could soon reportedly be given the chance to approve a local constitutional amendment that would legalize a further 16 casinos including two each for the areas around the cities of Little Rock and West Memphis.
According to a Monday report from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper, a pro-casino group calling itself Arkansas Wins in 2020 Incorporated officially submitted a petition in hopes that the government for ‘The Natural State’ will put just such a referendum before the electorate via the upcoming November general election.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that this appeal was submitted to the office of Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston late yesterday afternoon and is thought to have contained the names of over 97,000 people, which is far above the 89,151 signatures of support required for such an endeavor to be successful. The newspaper detailed that the state is now due to check the authenticity of these signatories and confirm that the group resides in at least 15 of Arkansas’ 75 counties.
A positive outcome to these examinations will reportedly result in Arkansas Wins in 2020 Incorporated being allowed to place its proposed constitutional amendment initiative onto the November 3 ballot so long as it has obtained similar consent from the Arkansas State Board of Election Commissioners and settled on a popular name for its question.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that the lobby group is hoping voters will eventually agree to alter the state’s constitution so as to allow the Arkansas Racing Commission to issue one new casino license apiece to private companies in Washington, Chicot, St Francis, Benton, Johnson, Garland, Miller, Boone, Greene, Sebastian, Nevada and Jefferson counties. The proposed ballot initiative moreover purportedly calls on two such permits each for Pulaski County, which contains the preeminent city of Little Rock, and the similarly-urban Crittenden County.
The newspaper reported that Arkansas voters narrowly passed a similar statewide constitutional amendment in November of 2018 that authorized the licensing of four such Las Vegas-style casinos. Two of these in West Memphis’ Southland Park Gaming and Racing as well as Oaklawn Racing and Gaming in the city of Hot Springs have already gone live while Oklahoma’s Quapaw Nation is currently in the process of constructing the $350 million first phase of what is to eventually become its Saracen Resort Casino in rural Jefferson County.