Arkansas casino and sports betting proposal set for public vote

Arkansas casino and sports betting proposal set for public vote

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 Posted by News Team
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State's citizens to have say on measure to expand casino gaming and allow sports wagering on November 8th

A proposal to expand land-based casino gaming and legalise sports betting in Arkansas is to be put to a public vote at the state’s general elections in November. 

The measure looks to permit land-based casino gaming at an existing horse racing track in Oaklawn and a greyhound racing facility in West Memphis, as well as establishing new venues in Pope and Jefferson Counties. It also paves the way for legal sports betting in Arkansas by stating that wagers on sporting events are to be included in the definition of casino gaming. 

Currently the Oaklawn and West Memphis facilities only offer electronic table games and slots, but under the proposal would be able to expand their product range to include card, dice and table games, as well as sports betting.

The proposal has been put forward by Driving Arkansas Forward, an advocacy group supported by Oklahoma’s Quapaw and Cherokee tribes. It managed to secure 99,988 valid signatures in favour of the measure, according to The Associated Press, passing the 85,000 threshold for having the measure included on the November 8th ballot.

Should it pass into law, it would set a licence fee of no more than $250,000 for each venue, with the Arkansas Racing Commission handed responsibility for regulating both casino and sports betting. 

The licensed venues are to be taxed on a sliding scale, paying a 13% rate on the first $150m of net gaming revenue, then 20% on any sum above $150m. The tax will be distributed between the Arkansas General Revenue Fund, which is to receive a 55% share, with 17.5% to go to the Arkansas Racing Commission, and to be used to support live horse and dog racing. 

The county in which the casino is located will receive an 8% share of the tax, and the final 19.5% will be given to the city or town that hosts the casino. 

Should the regulation be approved in November, the proposal states that it must be brought in to force no later than June 1st, 2019. However, it faces stern opposition from prominent politicians in the state, including governor Asa Hutchinson. Hutchinson, who is up for re-election, has publicly come out against the measure.

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