Our Voices Arkansas

The Voices of Grassroots Conservatives Across Arkansas

Oct 3, 2016

Vote “NO” on Casino Gambling (Issue 5)

UPDATE 10/13/16: The Arkansas Supreme Court struck this measure from the November ballot (even though it will still appear on the ballot, no votes will be counted). Issue 5 — that writes 3 specific casinos into the Arkansas Constitution — is just a bad proposal all the way around. First of all, we do not...

by OurVoicesAR

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no-issue-5UPDATE 10/13/16: The Arkansas Supreme Court struck this measure from the November ballot (even though it will still appear on the ballot, no votes will be counted).

Issue 5 — that writes 3 specific casinos into the Arkansas Constitution — is just a bad proposal all the way around. First of all, we do not believe gambling is the economic vehicle of choice to lift the wages and income of Arkansans.

Just ask Tunica (remember, they were told the same thing we’re hearing now about gambling leading to prosperity). Washington Post said this about that casino town in 2015:

Despite all the casino money, a county that ranked in the 1980s among the nation’s poorest today has one of Mississippi’s highest unemployment rates….A county that the Rev. Jesse Jackson once described as “America’s Ethiopia” had changed little in its poorest neighborhoods…

Secondly, it is a very bad idea to write specific companies and locations into our state Constitution. Some people call this “picking winners and losers,” and we just don’t believe in it. We do not believe state government should authorize or give advantages to some businesses over any other businesses — and in this case, the specified gaming companies are controlled by out-of-state investors (not even Arkansas residents)!

Some will tell you that Oaklawn Park (horses) and Southland (greyhounds) are both “written into the Constitution,” although that’s not exactly accurate. In 1949, the Arkansas Supreme Court said parimutuel betting on horses was not illegal because the “element of chance” doesn’t control a horse race, and voters approved Amendment 46 in 1956 that stated “horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering thereon shall be lawful in Hot Springs.” Southland obtained a similar “element of chance” ruling from the Arkansas Supreme Court in 1958.

If you follow the money, you will find that Cherokee Nation Gaming has donated at $1 million to get Issue 5 passed. In our money-driven election cycle, this means Cherokee Nation Gaming is basically buying its way into our state (can opponents compete with a $1 million war chest?). They would be running one of the legislated casinos, you see.

Lastly, this measure removes local control from the voters in the 3 Arkansas counties where casinos would locate — it effectively cancels the county’s local zoning laws on hours of operation and alcohol. And, even if everyone in those counties votes “NO,” if the rest of Arkansas votes “YES,” then those counties will have casinos (and all the crime and problems that come with them) over the wishes of local residents.

We vote “NO” on Issue 5.

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