|Updated: 5/17/2012 5:24 pm
||Published: 5/17/2012 4:09 pm
LITTLE ROCK, AR - A plan to bring casinos to Arkansas sees its first roadblock. Law enforcement, legislators and the faith-based community say an out of state casino consultant doesn't have Arkansans best interest at stake.
Stop Casinos Now says casinos are bad for Arkansas and the Nancy Todd Poker Palace would be an unregulated monopoly benefitting only Nancy Todd.
"As far as a monopoly, I'm happy to tell you we're not trying to create one, we're trying to bust one up," Todd says.
The monopoly Todd is talking about? Gaming already exists at Oaklawn and Southland race parks. And Deleware North, owner of Southland Park is contributing to the "Stop Casinos Now" campaign.
"Let’s you lived in a small town and owned a car dealership,” Chuck Lang with Stop Casinos Now says. “And a very large car dealer came to your town, sure you'd be involved in slowing down that process."
The ballot initiative calls for casinos in Miller, Franklin, Pulaski and Crittenden county and needs just over 78,000 to make it on the ballot in November.
State senator Eddie Joe Williams (R-Cabot) told reporters today ‘what happens in Vegas needs to stay in Vegas’, citing the marketing phrase as a reason to keep casinos out of the state.
"If you're approached and asked to sign a petition remember this, they're asking you to let them, Mrs. Todd, rewrite the constitution of the great state of Arkansas," Williams says.
Todd admits the language in the ballot initiative would give her group exclusive access to operate casinos in the state. She says that set-up only makes sense.
"I can't get the money together to fight the fight and bring it to the people and then just not have any stake or a say on who comes in," Todd says. “My goal is to have people that want to make Arkansas their home, not just something on the bottom line."
And Todd says the campaign to get it on the ballot is already underway.
Those opposed to this idea, cite gaming at Oaklawn and Southland being approved by the legislature and then voted on by citizens in Garland and Crittenden counties, respectively. A procedure not happening in this latest proposal.