Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, an outspoken critic of casino developments, has finally approved ballot measures for the building of casinos in the Russellville region of the state.
Rutledge is notorious for turning down more than 60 initiatives for building casinos in this state.
The proposal pushes to have casinos built in Jefferson County, Pope County, as well as at the state’s two racetracks. It was put forward by a group called Driving Arkansas Forward. The group is offering assurance that 65%of the tax revenue from the casinos would go towards improving transportation infrastructure in the state.
This April, Rutledge denied another ballot motion which was her fourth rejection this year and following that, the pro-casino group who put the motion forward filed a lawsuit against Rutledge claiming that she applied, “unnecessarily burdensome standards in her reviews.”
Rutledge commented: “I have issued opinions on ballot proposals based on standards set forth in statutes as well as case law of the Arkansas Supreme Court. However, the Arkansas Supreme Court has once again muddied the waters on these standards by offering no insight in its decision requiring me to certify or substitute language of a ballot title that I had previously rejected.”
“To be clear, today’s certifications do not prevent a citizen from legally challenging a ballot proposal once the required number of signatures are submitted to the Arkansas Secretary of State. Therefore, it is a real possibility that any one or all of the certified proposals will not appear on the ballot in November,” she added.
Those who approve the casino construction in the state say that residents are still gambling anyway, giving away their money in the neighboring states of Missouri, Oklahoma, Mississippi, which is why Arkansas is losing millions of dollars.
Arkansas is one of eleven US states that doesn’t have a commercial or tribal casino in its territory.