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Arkansas May Reconsider Casinos

18 April 2006

ARKANSAS – As reported by the Baxter Bulletin: "Arkansans don't mind betting on fast horses. They don't seem to have a problem making wagers on fast dogs. When it comes to casinos, however, they draw the line.

"Arkansas voters repeatedly have drawn the line on attempts to legalize casino gambling, most recently in 2000. This November, if proponents get the necessary 80,570 signatures on their petition, voters may get to have their say again, this time on a proposal similar to the one that went down in flames six years ago.

"Unlike the Legislature's proposed amendment to legalize bingo and raffles for established charitable organizations, the casino measure is being put forth by the private, for-profit Arkansas Casinos and Resorts Inc., a Texas-based company headed by Michael J. Wasserman of Gainsville, Texas.

"…In addition to casinos, the proposed amendment would establish a state lottery and a gaming commission. The proposal would earmark 50 percent of lottery revenue for prizes, 45 percent for an educational trust find and 5 percent for operating expenses.

"…Mr. Wasserman's proposal also would make gross gambling revenue from casinos subject to state and local sales taxes. However, the amendment would exempt the casinos from personal and property taxes, where local governments get most of their funding…"

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