If you're an Arkansas resident, you might soon get to experience the benefits of having legalized casino gambling in your state. According to a recent article in Gambling Magazine, there is talk of legalized gambling in the state of Arkansas, with a gambling initiative on the ballot come November 2006.
This is not the first gambling initiative to end up on an Arkansas state ballot but none of them have managed to pass the vote yet. Michael Wasserman, a Texas businessman and owner of Arkansas Resorts and Hotels, is the one behind the scenes of the initiative. Wasserman claims his intention is to only do whats best for the state. The initiative supports putting casinos in multiple counties across the state.
The currently only legal forms of gambling in the state of Arkansas are horse racing and greyhound dog racing. One of the only current places in Arkansas where any type gambling is legal, is in Hot Springs, AR, home of the Oaklawn Jockey Club. If you?re unfamiliar with Oaklawn, maybe the name Smarty Jones rings a bell. This is the racetrack where Smarty Jones got his start. Also there is Southland Greyhound Park in West Memphis, Arkansas. Thousands of Arkansas residents flock to pari-mutuel (Dog/horse races) facilities during racing season to gamble on their favorite horses, but some residents still crave more.
The closest gambling casinos for Arkansas residents are either in Mississippi or Oklahoma, depending on your location, a short drive from most parts of the state. Many residents are arguing its pointless to not bring in gambling to the state because residents are already spending their money playing elsewhere. The majority of Arkansas residents that enjoy gambling just end up contributing money to the neighboring states. This is revenue that could be benefiting Arkansas instead of their neighbors. Putting the direct revenue generated from the casinos aside, casinos could bring far more to Arkansas, indirectly. By looking at the amount of tourism and people that Oaklawn brings to the state every year, we can get a good idea of how profitable casinos could be in other parts of the state. By legalizing gambling in the state of Arkansas, the state can bring tourism to an all time high, offering even more entertainment for out-of-state visitors.