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Stop Casinos Now files challenge

The Stop Casinos Now committee is trying to keep a proposed constitutional amendment from bringing casinos into Arkansas.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Stop Casinos Now committee is trying to keep a proposed constitutional amendment from bringing casinos into Arkansas.

The committee filed a challenge with the Secretary of State's office to the proposed amendment Monday. The filing says Nancy Todd's proposed constitutional amendment would create and unregulated casino monopoly in the state, which the committee's lawyers say is illegal under federal law.

Nancy Todd says the committee is funded by Southland dog track, a business that doesn't want competition from casinos.

Committee spokesperson Robert McLarty says people who oppose casinos in Arkansas are very concerned about the structure of how the proposal is written and the impacts it will have on the state.

Nancy Todd of Nancy Todd's Poker Palace says the committee's only goal seems to be to make sure the people of Arkansas do not have a right to vote on this issue. "We're just trying to broaden what the people of Arkansas have for entertainment opportunities, and we specifically want them to have a chance to vote on it."

Todd's amendment names four counties for planned casinos, but McLarty says every county would be opened up for possible casinos in the future. "Clearly she's skipped over the process of meeting with community leaders and elected officials. She hasn't asked them if they want this and right now the answer is no."

McLarty says the committee represents politicians, lawyers, and Southland Dog Track. Todd says that brings special interest to a whole new level. "I certainly hope the voters have an opportunity to have their voice heard on this issue. That is something I think this process has denied them. The Attorney General already reviewed and approved the ballot language, so I don't think there's a whole lot to be challenged."

The next step in the process is for the Secretary of State's office to consult with the Attorney General. They have 30 days to make a determination.

Todd says she's confident the amendment will go to the voters. 80,000 petitions were turned in to the Secretary of State's office supporting casinos. Those signatures still need to be validated.
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