Arkansas voters approve new casino licenses and sports betting

Voters in Arkansas approved Issue 4 on Tuesday 6 November, allowing the state to issue four new casino licenses.

These casinos will also be allowed to offer sports betting, although regulations regarding sports wagering are yet to be drawn up.

In addition, Issue 4 permits the expansion of operations at Oaklawn Racing and Gaming in Hot Springs and Southland Gaming and Racing in West Memphis. Both facilities have offered electronic games of skill since 2005.

The group which sponsored the ballot, Driving Arkansas Forward, is reported by local press as saying voters understood the committee’s message of wanting to keep jobs and generate tax dollars within the state.

Nate Steel from Driving Arkansas Forward expects the state to have casinos within a year.

Re-elected Governor Asa Hutchinson spoke after his win and said he doesn’t support the measure as he continues to have "great concern over the immediate and negative impact on the state’s budget."

"But the people have spoken and I respect their will," the Republican governor said in a written statement.

Delaware North, owner of Southland Gaming and Racing, is expected to develop the $200m West Memphis development.