Initiative 5: An Amendment to Allow Three Casinos to Operate in Arkansas, One Each in the Following Counties: Boone County, Operated by Arkansas Gaming and Resorts, LLC; Miller County, Operated by Miller County Gaming, LLC; and Washington County, Operated by Washington County Gaming, LLC

What will be on the ballot?

An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution authorizing three casinos to operate in Arkansas, one in Boone County, Arkansas, operated by Arkansas Gaming and Resorts, LLC, an Arkansas Limited Liability Company, one in Miller County, Arkansas, operated by Miller County Gaming, LLC, an Arkansas Limited Liability Company, and one in Washington County, Arkansas, operated by Washington County Gaming, LLC, an Arkansas Limited Liability Company, all being subject to the laws enacted by the General Assembly in accord with this amendment and regulations promulgated by the Arkansas Gaming Commission in accord with laws enacted by the General Assembly; defining casino gaming and gaming as dealing, operating, carrying on, conducting, maintaining, or exposing for play any game played with cards, dice, equipment, or any mechanical, electromechanical, or electronic device or machine for money, property, checks, credit, or any representative value, as well as accepting wagers on sporting events or other events, including, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, any game, device, or type of wagering permitted at a casino operated within any one or more of the States of Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Tennessee, or Texas as of November 8, 2016, or as subsequently permitted thereafter; creating the Arkansas Gaming Commission to regulate casinos in accord with laws enacted by the General Assembly, with the Arkansas Gaming Commission comprised of five (5) commissioners, each appointed by the Governor for staggered 5-year terms; providing for the General Assembly to appropriate monies to or for the use of the Arkansas Gaming Commission; requiring each casino to pay to the Arkansas State Treasury as general revenues a net casino gaming receipts tax equal to eighteen percent (18%) of its annual net casino gaming receipts; requiring each casino to pay to the county in which the casino is located a net casino gaming receipts tax equal to one-half of one percent (0.5%) of its annual net casino gaming receipts; requiring each casino to pay to the city or town in which the casino is located a net casino gaming receipts tax equal to one and one-half percent (l.5%) of its annual net casino gaming receipts; defining annual net casino gaming receipts as gross receipts for a 12-month period from casino gaming less amounts paid out or reserved as winnings to casino patrons for that 12-month period; subjecting each casino to the same income, property, sales, use, employment and other taxation as any for-profit business located in the county and city or town in which the casino is located, except that the Arkansas Gross Receipts Act of 1941 and local gross receipts taxes shall not apply to casino gaming receipts; allowing a casino to operate any day for any portion or all of any day; allowing the selling or complimentary serving of alcoholic beverages in casinos during all hours the casino operates but otherwise subject to all applicable Arkansas laws involving the distribution and sale of alcohol; permitting the shipment into Boone, Miller, and Washington counties in Arkansas of gambling devices shipped and delivered in accordance with applicable federal law (15 USC§§ 1171-1178 and amendments and replacements thereto); rendering the provisions of this amendment severable; declaring inapplicable all constitutional provisions and laws to the extent they conflict with this amendment, but not otherwise repealing, superseding, amending, or otherwise affecting Amendment 84 (bingo or raffles) or Amendment 87 (state lottery) to the Arkansas Constitution, or Arkansas Act 1151 of 2005 (Electronic Games of Skill).

Full Text

What is in the initiative?

  • Creation of the Arkansas Gaming Commission.
    • Regulates the casinos and administers the laws pertaining to them.
    • Consisting of 5 commissioners appointed by the Governor, each serving 5 year terms (except the initial who will serve 1,2,3,4 & 5 year terms so that one is replaced each year.)
  • Authorizes only 3 casinos, specifically 1 in each of Boone, Miller, and Washington Counties.
    • Specifies Boone County’s will be run by Arkansas Gaming and Resorts LLC or their successors, Miller County’s will be run by Miller County Gaming LLC or their successors, and Washington County Gaming LLC or their successors.
  • Specifies tax rates on the casinos of 18% to the state, 0.5% to the county and 1.5% to the city or town.
  • Allows casinos to operate, sell alcohol or give away alcohol, 24 hours per day, every day of the year.
  • Authorizes the shipment of gaming equipment through anywhere in the state as long as it’s bound for one of these three casinos.
  • Provides that each provision in the bill is separate, therefore if any part of the amendment is declared invalid, the rest of the amendment will still stand.
  • Voids all current laws that stand in opposition to the provisions in this amendment.

Support For:

  • If this initiative is not passed, these jobs and tax revenues will continue to go to our neighboring states.
  • This will bring competition to the state’s current gaming monopolies and bring new entertainment, hotels and restaurants for the state’s citizens and tourists.

Arguments Against:

  • Casinos don’t lift the economy and the tax benefits are small compared to the state budget.
  • It provides more ways for people to hurt themselves and others around them.
  • Dictates where the casinos will be placed, whether the citizens there want them or not.
  • By writing specific company names into the amendment, it creates government mandated monopolies for those private corporations named. This is blatant cronyism, using the government to benefit specific private corporations.
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