LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas’ attorney general has rejected the wording of a proposed ballot measure that would allow up to three casinos in the state to raise money for highways.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on Thursday cited ambiguities in the proposed constitutional amendment submitted earlier this month by Driving Arkansas Forward, a group formed to campaign for the measure. The proposal calls for 65 percent of casino tax revenue to go toward highway funding.
Rutledge must approve the measure’s language before supporters can gather signatures to try and place it on the November ballot.
An attorney for the group says it planned to submit a new version of the proposal within the next week that would address Rutledge’s concerns.
Pine Bluff and Jefferson County officials joined members of the business community earlier this month to announce that Jefferson County is one of the planned sites for a casino resort. During a meeting at the Economic Development Alliance for Jefferson County, John Berrey, the Chief of the Quapaw Indian Tribe, laid out plans for the construction of a resort and casino in the county that would create 1,000 new jobs.
Berrey, whose tribe currently operates a casino in Oklahoma just across the border from Joplin, Missouri, cited the tribe’s history with Pine Bluff and Jefferson County, including the burial site for Chief Saracen, Saracen Lake and Saracen Landing.
“This is a chance to bring Pine Bluff back to its old self,” Berrey said. “It’s a big deal for the citizens of Pine Bluff and Jefferson County.”
Appearing with Berrey were Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington and Jefferson County Judge Henry “Hank” Wilkins IV.
Since she has been in office, Washington has talked about Pine Bluff being a “place of destination with the right partners to help achieve the goal.”
“I believe we can be partners,” she said.
After Jefferson County receives the first license, a second would go to Crittenden County, while the third would go to either Miller, Mississippi, Pope, Union or White counties.
A minimum $100 million will be required to be invested in each casino.