August 9, 2022 Casino, Legal, Land Based

Pope County casino opponents fail to remove area as a state-licensed casino site

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The committee failed to qualify for a 30-day extension, allowing it to collect more signatures.

A committee in Pope County, Arkansas failed to submit enough signatures of registered voters which would have continued for 30 days an effort to remove the county as a site for a state-sponsored casino.

Secretary of State John Thurston revealed the news this week that the Fair Play for Arkansas committee needed to submit 66,864 valid signatures of registered voters to qualify for a 30-day cure period and his office verified no less than 62,859 registered voters.

Thurston also said in a letter to James Knight of the Fair Play for Arkansas 2022 committee that the required number of valid signatures for sponsors to qualify the proposed constitutional amendment for the ballot is 89,151.

Fair Play spokesman Hans Stiritz said that the committee will review the information provided by the Secretary of State to determine any future efforts. 

Stiritz commented: "We’re grateful for the diligent efforts of our canvassing team in spite of extreme opposition from the Arkansas Tourism Alliance, including possible criminal activity currently under investigation."

There are other requirements involved including the state Board of Election Commissioners must certify a proposed ballot measure's popular name and ballot title under state law.

Last week, the Arkansas Board of Election Commissioners declined to certify the ballot title for a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at removing Pope County as a state-licensed casino site.

In November, the Pope County casino license was handed to Cherokee Nation Businesses to build Legends Resort & Casino. 

Cherokee Nation Businesses Attorney David Couch stated: "Our grassroots and digital voter education efforts led many to decline to sign Fair Play's petition, ultimately resulting in its failure to get the measure on the ballot."

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