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Oklahoma tribe gives $1.4M total to Arkansas casino proposal

September 18, 2018

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A Native American tribe contributed about $1.4 million to a ballot initiative that would authorize four casinos in Arkansas.

The Driving Arkansas Forward committee reported Monday that the Quapaw Tribe in Oklahoma donated $191,000 in August, pushing the tribe’s total contributions over the million-dollar mark.

The proposed constitutional amendment would allow the Arkansas State Racing Commission to issue licenses two new casinos, one in Jefferson County near Pine Bluff and the other in Pope County near Russellville. The Quapaw Tribe has expressed interest in applying for a casino license in Jefferson County, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

The ballot initiative will also expand gambling operations for Oaklawn Jockey Club in Hot Springs and Southland Racing Corp. in West Memphis. Both Oaklawn and Southland haven’t taken a position on the ballot initiative yet.

The Driving Arkansas Forward committee raised $2.48 million from all sources through Aug. 31. About $1 million was donated by the Cherokee Nation Businesses LLC in Oklahoma, which has indicated interest in a casino in Pope County.

Driving Arkansas Forward sponsored the casino proposal with the Arkansas Jobs Coalition committee, and Republican Secretary of State Mark Martin certified it for the Nov. 6 general election ballot. But it’s facing opposition from two other committees, Ensuring Arkansas’ Future and Citizens for Local Choices, which asked the state Supreme Court last week to strike the proposal from the ballot.

The high court has also received requests to remove two other issues from the general election ballot: term limits at all levels of government and raising the state’s minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2021.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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