Arkansas voters have approved a measure legalizing casinos in four counties, including at a horse track and dog track that already offer video poker and other electronic gambling.
Incomplete and unofficial results are 462,519 for and 392,962 against, according to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office, which says that 98 percent of precincts in the state are reporting.
Voters on Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment that allows the casinos at the Southland dog track in West Memphis and the Oaklawn horse track in Hot Springs. The measure also legalizes casinos in Pope and Jefferson counties.
The Cherokee and Quapaw tribes in Oklahoma spent more than $4 million combined campaigning for the measure, which supporters have touted as a way to keep gambling revenue in Arkansas. The state Supreme Court last month rejected two lawsuits that tried to get the proposal disqualified from the ballot.
Driving Arkansas Forward is expressing its appreciation to Arkansas voters. The group said in a news release that the casinos will create new jobs through expanded gaming opportunities.
John Berrey, chairman of the Quapaw and a member of the ballot question committee that drafted and led the campaign for approval of Issue 4, issued the following statement following the election.
“The people of Arkansas made it clear they want to improve the state’s economy, create new jobs and keep money in Arkansas. We are grateful for the support of the tens of thousands of Arkansas voters who made the choice to bring expanded casino gaming to the state.
“Arkansas is our homeland, and we are eager to move forward, working together with the local government in Pine Bluff and Jefferson County, to establish a casino resort that honors our legacy and provides opportunity for the region.”
Berrey said the Quapaw intend to apply for a casino license in Jefferson County, pending the state’s promulgation of rules and regulations and local support for a casino application.
In a previous interview with The Commercial, Berrey said that the casino would be located in Pine Bluff.