Driving Forward Arkansas’ casino scene

Driving Forward Arkansas’ casino scene

Tuesday, August 28, 2018 Posted by Craig Davies
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Estimated that the state could benefit to the tune of $120m

As the sports betting scene begins to see huge growth across the United States, one group is devoted to the expansion of the land based casino empire within Arkansas.

Called Driving Arkansas Forward, the group’s legal counsel Nate Steel took time out to speak to TotallyGaming.com regarding its ultimate aim and the numerous benefits that the state could see as a result.

For the benefit of our readers, could you explain what Driving Arkansas Forward is all about?

Driving Arkansas Forward is a committee that was established to help pass a constitutional amendment authorising limited casino gaining in Arkansas, and using revenue to help fund highways (although the version of the amendment that was certified by the Attorney General does not dedicate the revenue to highways).

How important is it that the proposed constitutional amendment comes into effect?

Arkansas is surrounded by states that offer casino gaming. Casinos are located on our western, southern, and eastern borders. At least 30% of Arkansans surveyed say they regularly engage in casino gaming outside of Arkansas. This amendment keeps those dollars in state and yields $120 million in tax revenue annually.

Located within proposals is a commitment to the treatment of problem gamblers, how essential are such measures for what you're hoping to achieve to be a success?

This was very important to us. Arkansas used to have funding for problem gambling (to address lottery and horse/dog racing addiction) but that funding was cut a couple of years ago. Our Amendment dedicates a minimum of $200,000 per year.

How important was the $1m raised last month? And what challenges lie ahead in the immediate future?

Every dollar is important but over the past couple of months, our committee has shown the strength necessary to get this passed.

What would you say to someone who didn't believe in, or was against, the proposals you are putting forward?

Gambling is not for everyone. But everyone in Arkansas will benefit from an additional $120m per year. Arkansans already have access to gaming, so why not provide it in a measured and responsible way in state, and capture the revenue.

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