The state of Arkansas is working towards the introduction of a casino expansion in the forthcoming months, but there have been several hiccups in the process of achieving supporters’ ultimate goal. Now it has been confirmed that Driving Arkansas Forward, the group which collects signatures for a constitutional amendment on a state level would need more time in order to generate the sufficient number of supporters of new casino venues idea.
It is not a secret to anyone that part of the region of four counties is willing to welcome a new casino venue which has the potential to bring more and improve the economic state of the region. The group was willing to work towards bringing the change and this is possible with the help of an amendment to the State Constitution. Among the goals set, Driving Arkansas Forward is striving to allow expanded gaming offerings available at a couple of horse and greyhound race courses, which could happen on the ballot set to take place this November.
If this effort brings changes to the field with the help of the ballot, this would mean that Pope and Jefferson Counties would witness brand new casino venues, respectively Russellville Casino and Pine Bluff Casino. In the meantime, Crittenden and Garland Counties would welcome more gaming offerings at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs and Southland Park Gaming and Racing in West Memphis. They would see new gaming activities introduced, as for the time being they have a limited set of offerings on site.
Back in May, the group received a green light for the ballot title which would go by the name of Arkansas Casino Gaming Amendment of 2018. The total number of signatures which were supposed to be generated in order to have their voice heard reached 84,859. As of this moment, the group has succeeded in gathering the support of a total of 94,880 individuals. Upon further examination, it turned out that only 70,054 signature passed the certification of the authorities which is an insufficient number.
Four Counties Could Welcome New Gaming Offerings
Now a 30-day window has been added to the signature collecting period, which is expected to give the group the chance to reach the ultimate set number. The new deadline is set to 24th August and according to members of the group, the goal is realistic, as there are canvassers progressing their work every day.
In the meantime, Citizens For a Better Pope County, another group is also collecting signatures in relation to introducing a second question to November’s ballot. It is going to seek the opinion of the community about whether or not a casino venue is welcome in the area. A total of 4,000 signatures would have to be collected in order to reach the goal. There is also a deadline set for it, which makes 6th August an important date on the group’s calendar.
Support towards the idea has been fanning throughout other states as well, with more organizations joining the efforts. It was recently reported that Cherokee Nation Businesses has demonstrated its approval of Driving Arkansas Forward’s project with the help of a $525,300 donation. According to the CEO of the Oklahoma-based holding, Shawn Slaton, this move is striving to secure the tribal job positions in Arkansas for people of the Cherokee Nation.
It could also be recalled that another Native American tribe, Quapaw Tribe had also expressed its support through a $1.2 million donation earlier this month. There has also been the contribution of Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers and the Gulfside Casino Partnership which amounted to some $10,000.
The group collecting signatures utilizes the generated funds for further boosting the project by promoting it on TV and other media outlets. According to the projected revenue for the four casino venues, this expansion could bring up to $120 million over the span of a single year which would then be reinvested in the community.