The group seeking to expand casino gambling in Arkansas reports it has gathered many more signatures on the proposal — if certified enough to qualify for the ballot.

From a news release:


Proponents of a ballot measure to expand casino gaming in Arkansas today submitted an additional 43,952 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office in an effort to place the proposed constitutional amendment on the Nov. 6 ballot.

To date, about 140,000 Arkansans have signed petitions to give voters the chance to decide whether to allow two resort-style casinos in Arkansas, one each in Jefferson and Pope counties, as well as expansion of gaming at two iconic Arkansas institutions, Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs and Southland Park Gaming and Racing in West Memphis.

“We are humbled by the overwhelming statewide support for a fair and transparent casino amendment that will benefit our economy and keep tax money from leaving our state,” said Nate Steel, counsel for Driving Arkansas Forward, a coalition of business and political leaders supporting the measure.

The proposal allows expansion of electronic gambling at the existing Oaklawn and Southland casinos and permits new casinos in Jefferson and Pope counties, with approval of county judges. The tax money — a reduction in the current casino tax rate — would go to general revenues and a portion of income also would benefit local governments.

In July, supporters of the amendment turned in 70,054 valid signatures, enough to qualify for more canvassing. They need 84,859 signatures to qualify.


The Cherokee and Quapaw tribes, both interested in operating new casinos, have provided the major financial backing so far, but Southland and Oaklawn have voiced no objections to the proposal, which would allow them expanded gambling and also sports betting.