LITTLE ROCK — Supporters of a proposal to legalize casinos in Arkansas have been given 30 more days to circulate petitions after falling short of the signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot.


Secretary of State Mark Martin’s office told the group behind the proposed constitutional amendment that it’s fallen short of the 84,859 signatures needed from registered voters to qualify. Martin’s office determined the casino supporters had turned in no more than 70,054 valid signatures.


The proposal would legalize casino gambling at a Hot Springs horse track and a West Memphis dog track that already offer video poker and other electronic games. It would also legalize casinos in Pope and Jefferson counties.


Driving Arkansas Forward, the group behind the measure, says it’s confident it’ll gather enough signatures during the 30 days.


Don Tilton, an Arkansas lobbyist who is representing the Quapaw tribe, which is a substantial financial backer of the proposed Jefferson County casino, said that should the casino measure become law, “any of our financial interests moving forward, if we were selected as the entity to own and operate a casino in Jefferson County, any of those interests are represented within the City of Pine Bluff.”


Tilton is also the chairman of the Driving Arkansas Forward Committee.