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Howard Stutz

Arkansas ballot initiative could bring seven casinos

18 November 2011

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas -- Arkansas could be the next hotbed for casino expansion if a Texas businessman succeeds in putting a proposed constitutional amendment before voters next year.

Michael Wasserman of Gainsville, Texas, who has spearheaded several failed efforts to establish casinos in Arkansas, said casinos in seven Arkansas cities would generate millions of dollars and provide jobs to help the state’s economy.

“It will be on the ballot,” he told Arkansas News, a day after Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel certified a revised version of the ballot initiative for the 2012 general election.

The political arm of the conservative Family Council immediately announced its opposition.

“If we create destination resorts, it’s going to bring people from Texas and all of the surrounding states,” Wasserman said.

Under the proposal, Wasserman’s Arkansas Hotels and Entertainment Inc. would operate casinos in Boone, Crittenden, Garland, Jefferson, Miller, Pulaski and Sebastian counties.

Arkansas’ current gaming offerings include charitable bingo and the state lottery.