This November, Arkansas will see voters considering a constitutional amendment that would legalize casinos in the state. A study was commissioned by Arkansas Wins in 2016, a pro-casino group, on the addition of casino gaming and yesterday results of the study were released. Reportedly, the study found that if the amendment is passed and the three casinos are authorized with legislation, the state would be able to see $122 million annual tax revenues which would be used by state and local governments.
The study was conducted by the Economic Impact Group LLC and found that the three casinos plus ancillary facilities would be able to generate $768 million in revenues in one year with 3,200 jobs created in the process. The operations of the casinos are believed to have the ability to bring in almost $500 million in additional spending locally. As far as the projected $122 million is concerned, the state would see $109.8 million of the total amount while $12.2 million would go towards local governments.
Robert Coon is a spokesman for the group Arkansas Wins in 2016 who stated that at a time when leaders of the state are searching for critical tax revenues to use for education, roadways, health care and income tax cuts, the $122 million in new gaming tax revenues annual from Issue 5 passing cannot be overstated.
However, there are others who disagree. The Committee to Protect Arkansas Values/Stop Casinos Now are not in favor of the amendment and do not want to see casinos legalized in the state. Chairman of the group, Chuck Lange, stated that the study is political propaganda and not worth the paper it is printed on.
The proposal will be on the ballot November 8th and would allow casinos to be constructed in Washington, Miller and Boone counties. Three limited liability companies would control the casinos, companies owned by Bob Womack and Jim Thompson. The casino of Washington County would involve the Cherokee Nation Entertainment group.
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