Arkansas Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Casino Amendment

The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled to keep the casino amendment, known as Issue 4, on the November ballot this week. The amendment would legalize up to four casinos in the state. It was challenged by Jim Knight on behalf of the political group Citizens for Local Choice.

Knight's legal filing was more of a request for the Arkansas Secretary of state Mark Martin, urging him to refuse to certify any ballots in favor of the casino amendment. The state Supreme Court did not write a lengthy ruling on their decision to allow the amendment, but simply cited the state constitution.

The ruling was praised by the political group Driving Arkansas Forward, which released a statement about the small victory. Group counsel Nate Steel said the decision clears the way for 6,000 new jobs in the state and for residents to contribute an additional $6 billion to the state economy.

The amendment would not create four new establishments, but award expanded casino licenses to two state race tracks. Only two licenses would be available to new establishments – designated in the areas of Russellville and Pine Bluff.

Proponents of the measure say the casinos will attract more tourism, help the gaming dollars of Arkansas residents in-state, and create much-needed jobs. The argument for keeping gaming dollars in Arkansas is supported by the frequent bus tours to Mississippi that take seniors across the river to gamble.

Over 25 percent of state residents polled said they had spent money gambling in neighboring states.

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