JOHNSON COUNTY, Ark. (KFSM) — On Thursday (Feb. 14) the Johnson County court voted 7 – 4 to approve an amendment that allows a casino to come to the area, according to Shirley Joyner with the Johnson County Judge’s Office.
Voters passed a casino amendment in November 2018, which approved new casinos to go in Jefferson County and Pope County.
A rule change could invalidate Pope County’s’ casino support, so Johnson County is looking to take advantage of the available license.
In November 2018, 56 percent of Johnson County voters voted in favor of casinos coming to Arkansas, according to our CBS news partner THV11. That’s why Johnson County Judge Herman Houston supports the bid to bring the casino to town.
“I decided as county judge, it’s my responsibility to bring different ideas,” Houston said to THV11. “We don’t want to be stale or go backward,” said Houston. “We want to go forward in this community.”
Gulfside Casino is in talks with Johnson County about locating there, THV11 reports.
The casino amendment reads new licenses would be issued to Pope County and Jefferson County, so bringing one to Johnson County will bring on legal challenges. It’s unclear if Johnson County can legally make the change happen even if they want to, but the amendment does leave the option for the legislature to change ownership of the license.
Since it’s uncertain if Pope County is getting a casino like the passed amendment reads, this may allow the house and senate to replace the county with two-thirds approval.