Could Arkansas be home to three casinos, with one setting up show in Washington County?
The group “Arkansas Wins” wants the sights and sounds of a casino to cross the state lines into Arkansas. “Arkansas Wins” spokesperson Robert Coon is urging folks to vote for issue 5. He says building casino’s in the Natural Stae would be an economic jackpot.
“Ultimately, if you’re an Arkansas resident and you are interested in gaming, you have an opportunity to do that, but most of your opportunities are out of state and that’s what we’re trying to change,” said Coon. “For those that want to participate in it, we think they should be spending their money in Arkansas. We’re talking about $75 million if not more annually for the state to invest in Arkansas.
The Issue 5 amendment would allow three casinos in Arkansas: One in Boone, Miller and Washington Counties. The casino in Arkansas would be operated by the Washington County Gaming LLC. Each casino would be held to Arkansas law. Even with the regulations, the opposition says the facility would be a losing bet. State Representative Greg Leding, a Democrat whose district covers Washington County, said carving out space for special interests in our state is not the Arkansas way.
“We could end up with a 24 hour casino with 24 hours alcohol sales on the back step of our state’s flagship university,” said State Representative Greg Leding. “This approach is like saying Walmart has an unfair advantage here in Arkansas, so we’re going to write Target into our constitution, to give it some a little helping hand.”
When it comes to the economic impact, Leding says the state should be more cautious about who it allows to set up shop here.
“We’re always going to be competing with neighboring states for jobs and there’s all kinds of things we could be doing to bring jobs into our state,” said Leding. “We want to be careful about what kind of economic activity we pursue.”