The group that successfully fought a proposed constitutional amendment to allow three more casinos in Arkansas said today that its polling showed the measure would have been decisively defeated had it reached the ballot.
The Arkansas Supreme Court killed Issue 5, to allow casinos in three counties owned by Missouri businessmen, because of problems with the ballot title. Protect Arkansas Now — Stop Casinos Now opposed the amendment. The group was funded by the owners of the two existing casinos in Arkansas, at Southland and Oaklawn.
Chuck Lange, chair of the group, sent a news release about polling the group had done. It’s intended, of course, to discourage future casino efforts.
“We commissioned this poll to see how Arkansas would have voted on this amendment and the results indicated that it would have been defeated 62% to 33%. Because we thought it was important for Arkansans to know that Issue #5 was headed for a resounding defeat, we decided to release these numbers,” said Chuck Lange – Chairman of Protect Arkansas Now – Stop Casinos Now. “There have been two other votes in the past couple decades to expand gaming statewide in Arkansas and both of those have failed. It is clear that Arkansas doesn’t want to expand gaming in Arkansas.”
Hickman Analytics did the poll Oct. 18-20. Interviewers called 600 likely voters.
Robert Coon, a spokesman for the group that backed the amendment:
“The public will see this cheap stunt for what it is – meaningless propaganda intended to discourage future efforts to bring new jobs, tax revenue and competition, so that Oaklawn and Southland can maintain their stranglehold on casino gaming in Arkansas. As Chuck Lange would say, it’s ‘not worth the paper it’s printed on.’”