State Supreme Court Rules Casino Amendment Can Stay On Ballot

LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) — The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday (Oct. 11) ruled that Issue 4, an amendment to legalize casinos in Arkansas, will stay on the November ballot, according to Talk Business & Politics.

The proposal would allow casino gambling at Oaklawn, a Hot Springs horse track, and Southland, a greyhound track in West Memphis, according to the Associated Press.

The tracks currently offer video poker and other forms of electronic gambling. The proposal would also allow casinos in Pope and Jefferson counties.

Supporters of the measure have promoted it as a way to keep revenue in Arkansas that right now is going to casinos in adjoining states.

Nate Steel, counsel for Driving Arkansas Forward — the group behind the measure — said the decision clears “the way for Arkansas voters to add almost $6 billion to our state’s economy and create 6,000 new jobs through a fair, measured and merit-based expansion of casino gaming.”

“We are grateful the Supreme Court upheld the Attorney General’s certification that Issue 4 is clear and understandable to voters. We are confident Arkansans will vote to keep casino entertainment dollars in our state when they cast their ballots on Nov. 6,” Steel said.

The court also upheld a measure that requires voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot.

A state judge earlier this year blocked officials from enforcing the restriction, but justices stayed that ruling and kept the law in place while they considered the case.

Opponents of the measure had argued that it circumvents a 2014 ruling striking down a previous voter ID law.

Arkansas officials say the new measure complies with part of the decision that said it needed at least two-thirds approval in both chambers of the Legislature to become law.

The court could also rule today on Issue 1, which would limit the damages awarded in lawsuits and would give the Legislature control over court rules.