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Arkansas Communities to Vote on Gambling

16 March 2005

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas – As reported by the Arkansas Times Record: "Two communities in Arkansas would be allowed to vote on whether to expand gambling at horse and dog tracks under a bill passed Tuesday by the state House.

"The only question is whether Gov. Mike Huckabee, an opponent of gambling, will veto the measure, sign it into law, or if he will allow it to become law without his signature.

" … 'When we say we want people to have local autonomy, I think we should mean that and respect that,' said Rep. Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock, in support of Senate Bill 999.

"Sponsored by Sen. Bob Johnson, D-Bigelow, the bill narrowly passed the Senate last week and was adopted by the House on a 57-38 vote.

"Under SB 999, local elections can be held on whether Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs and Southland Greyhound Park in West Memphis can operate electronic games. Either the city or county where the facility is located can hold the election under the provisions of the bill.

"Rep. Phillip Jackson, R-Berryville, who presented the bill to the committee, said the measure would not allow games of pure chance, such as slot machines, but only games where some skill and study is involved…"

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