Arkansas Could Get Casinos ....And Maybe Even Sports Betting

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A petition drive to get casinos in the state of Arkansas has fallen short of the required number to qualify for the November ballot.

Supporters have been given 30 more days to circulate petitions.

Secretary of State Mark Martin's office told the group behind the proposed constitutional amendment that it's fallen short of the 84,859 signatures needed from registered voters to qualify. Martin's office determined the casino supporters had turned in no more than 70,054 valid signatures.

The proposal would legalize casino gambling at a Hot Springs horse track and a West Memphis dog track that already offer video poker and other electronic games. It would also legalize casinos in Pope and Jefferson counties.

Driving Arkansas Forward, the group behind the measure, says it's confident it'll gather enough signatures during the 30 days.

Sports betting could some day come to Arkansas as well.  It's already landed next store in Mississippi and Louisiana might not be too far behind.  Right now Arkansas residents can bet online with internationally-licensed sports betting sites

The lost money to other states is likely to raise the stakes, writes Mark Brantley of the Arkansas Times.

He writes:

A proposed constitutional amendment to add two casinos in Arkansas would give them sports wagering authority No one has yet specifically proposed a law for the 2019 legislature on sports wagering. It would be tricky. The casinos would like to retain their duopoly on legal gambling. A lot of others are hungry to get into the betting business. The familiar religious opposition is already at work.

- Gilbert Horowitz, Gambling911.com

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