Initiative would bring gambling to Arkansas

(November 21, 2003) - (Little Rock-AP) -- The attorney general's office is certifying a name and ballot title for a proposed state constitutional amendment that would authorize a lot more gambling in Arkansas. That clears the way for backers to gather signatures on a petition to place it on the 2004 general election ballot. If it makes the ballot and is approved, the amendment would allow any business that has a permit to serve alcohol to conduct casino-type gambling - card games, dice games, slot machines and roulette. Businesses that sell only beer or wine would be excluded. It also would authorize the Legislature to set up one or more lotteries in Arkansas and to conduct them in conjunction with lotteries in other states. And it would allow any nonprofit organization incorporated in Arkansas to have bingo games and raffles, subject to state regulation. Barry Emigh of Hot Springs proposed the amendment. At least 80-thousand,570 registered Arkansas voters must sign a petition to put the amendment on the ballot and the secretary of state must certify the petition.