July 31, 2020 Casino, Legal

Arkansas Supreme Court orders special master to oversee casino amendment case

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The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled for a special master to review a casino ballot initiative whose petitions were deemed insufficient by Secretary of State John Thurston.

Earlier in July Thurston argued that paid canvassers for Arkansas Wins in 2020, a casino expansion ballot question committee, failed to pass background checks, thus nullifying the group’s petition drive. 

Thurston’s ruling came after Arkansas Wins achieved the necessary 89,151 signatures for their proposed amendment to reach the Nov. 3 ballot. 

Special master Kathleen Bell, a retired Circuit Judge, will be asked to resolve the case by no later than 17 August. 

The Arkansas Supreme Court also granted Arkansas Wins a 30-day cure period to collect petition signatures. Those signatures will be counted if Bell rules in favor of Arkansas Wins. 

The ballot initiative has received opposition from Protect Arkansas Communities, a group sponsored financially by the state’s existing casinos. 

The Arkansas Racing Commission has authorized four casino licenses after voters approved a 2018 constitutional amendment to expand gambling in the state. 

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