Arkansas casino measure supporters turn in more signatures

Posted: August 21, 2018 at 12:41 p.m.

Supporters of a proposal to authorize four casinos in Arkansas on Tuesday turned in additional signatures in a bid to get the measure on the November ballot. Photo by Michael R. Wickline.

The sponsors of a proposed constitutional amendment to authorize four casinos in Arkansas on Tuesday said they turned in 43,952 more signatures in their effort to quality their measure for the Nov. 6 general election ballot.

On July 25, the secretary of state’s office gave the proposed measure’s sponsors until Friday to collect about 15,000 more signatures to qualify the proposed constitutional amendment for the ballot. The sponsors turned in no more than 70,054 valid signatures of registered voters in July from the initial count of 94,880, and 84,859 valid signatures are needed to get the proposal on the ballot, according to the secretary of state’s office.

The proposed constitutional amendment would authorize casinos for: an applicant in Pope County within two miles of Russellville; an applicant in Jefferson County within two miles of Pine Bluff; Southland Racing Corp. in West Memphis; and and Oaklawn Jockey Club in Hot Springs. Under state law, Oaklawn and Southland operate electronic games of skills, so the proposed measure would allow for expansion of their gambling operations.

The sponsors of the proposal are the Driving Arkansas Forward and Arkansas Jobs Coalition committees. So far, the Quapaw and Cherokeee tribes have provided most of the funding for promoting the proposed constitutional amendment. If the secretary of state’s office certifies the proposal for the ballot, it will be Issue 4, said Chris Powell, a spokesman for office.

Read Wednesday's Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.