Arkansas group pushes plan for three casinos

July 28, 2016 9:29 AM
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A group hoping to see casinos legalized in three Arkansas counties has been given extra time  to get the roughly 22,000 additional signatures needed to get the issue on the November ballot.

Casinos could be opened in Miller, Boone and Washington counties if voters approve the proposed constitutional amendment, according to an Associated Press report.

Secretary of State Mark Martin’s office said it had verified that 63,725 of the signatures submitted by Arkansas Wins in 2016 were from registered voters, shy of the 84,859 needed to qualify for the ballot. But since the group had gathered at least 75 percent of the valid signatures needed, it has until Aug. 26 to gather more, Martin’s office said.

"Our campaign has covered significant ground in a short period of time because voters across the state understand the positive impact this proposal will have in the form of jobs, economic growth, tourism, and tax revenue," Arkansas Wins spokesman Robert Coon said in a statement. "We’re pleased with the results of the secretary of state’s validation process, and we remain confident in our ability to obtain the number of signatures necessary over the next several weeks to place this amendment on the ballot this November."

Coon said the group also expected to challenge the state’s ruling that some signatures aren’t valid, saying they’d provide proof as to why the signatures should be counted.

Arkansas Wins last month announced it had struck a deal with Cherokee Nation Entertainment to run the Washington County casino if voters approve the measure. Video poker and other forms of electronic gambling are currently legal at the Oaklawn horse track in Hot Springs and the Southland dog track in West Memphis.