Ark. officials ask court to reject casino measure
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A proposed casino legalization amendment doesn't fully inform voters about its consequences, Arkansas officials told the state Supreme Court on Monday, asking justices to order that any votes for it not be counted.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's office asked justices to deny professional poker player Nancy Todd's lawsuit to keep her casino proposal on the November ballot. Todd sued state officials last week for rejecting the revised wording of her measure, which would give her exclusive rights to operate casinos in four counties.
Secretary of State Mark Martin certified the proposal for the November ballot after Todd filed her lawsuit. If justices reject the proposal and there is not enough time to remove it from the ballot, no votes should be counted, McDaniel's filing said. Justices have not scheduled oral arguments in the case and it's unclear when they will take up the issue.
The filing said Todd's proposal would repeal a state law that allows a West Memphis dog track and a Hot Springs horse track to offer electronic gambling such as video poker and blackjack. The filing said that Todd's revised wording, which says the proposal "may" repeal the gambling at the tracks, is misleading to voters.
"Instead, it leaves it to the electors to decide what the effect of the proposed constitutional amendment would be," the filing said.
Martin rejected the revised wording hours after Todd submitted more than 121,000 signatures to get her proposal on the ballot.
Chuck Lange, chairman of the Stop Casinos Now Committee, also filed a motion Monday to intervene in the case and asked justices to strike Todd's proposal from the November ballot. The committee is funded primarily by Southland, the West Memphis dog track.
Todd's proposal is the second to land before the Arkansas Supreme Court. Justices next week are scheduled to hear oral arguments over election officials' rejection of petitions for Texas Businessman Michael Wasserman's casino proposal. Wasserman's amendment would give him exclusive rights to operate casinos in seven Arkansas counties.