Arkansas voters may see a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot in November to legalize casino gaming but what is likely a clerical error may cause a delay in this measure going forward.
On Wednesday, April 25, 2012, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued an opinion, Opinion No. 2012-054, which approved the wording of the title of a proposed ballot measure for an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution "to allow Nancy Todd’s Poker Palace and Entertainment Venues, LLC to own and operate four casino gaming establishments."
Some of the highlights of the ballot measure include:
- Calls for gaming in four counties - Pulaski (largest city: Little Rock), Miller (largest city: Texarkana), Franklin and Crittenden (largest city: West Memphis);
- A call for a casino tax, in addition to the standard business tax, of 12.5% of net gaming revenue; and
- The proceeds of the casino tax would be appropriated as follows - 30% to fund Arkansas public schools; 10% to the Arkansas Department of Veteran Affairs; 8% to the Arkansas Children's Hospital (if a clerical error is fixed - see below); 8% to the Medicaid Trust Fund; 8% to a senior care prescription drug benefit program; 6% to a registered Arkansas State apprenticeship program; 12% to the county in which the casino lies; and 18% to counties with no casino, based on population.
Nancy Todd’s Poker Palace and Entertainment Venues LLC needs to collect 78,133 signatures of registered Arkansas voters to place the approved version of the ballot measure on the November general election ballot, according to a ArkansasNews.com article.
According to Attorney General Opinion No. 2012-054, ballot measures previously submitted to the Attorney General by Nancy Todd's were "rejected due to ambiguities in the texts of the proposals."
Ironically, it is the certified language set forth in Opinion No. 2012-054 that may cause a rejection in this current ballot measure. The certified language of the Ballot Title as printed in the Attorney General's Opinion mistakenly left the Children's Hospital out of the list of recipients of funds from the 12.5% casino tax proposed in the constitutional amendment.
It is unclear whether this oversight will cause a delay in Nancy Todd’s ability to get the ballot measure on the November general election ballot, as a new opinion may be required to re-certify the correct Ballot Title.