Arkansas Casino Amendment, Issue 3 and 4 (2012)

From Ballotpedia
Revision as of 13:51, 15 December 2012 by Alejandortiz (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search


Issues 3 and 4
744px-Flag of Arkansas.svg.png
Click here for the latest news on U.S. ballot measures
Quick stats
Type:initiated constitutional amendment
Referred by:Nancy Todd and Michael Wasserman
Topic:Gambling
Status:Results not tabulated

Editor's Note: The following is an article on two measures, proposed by two different sponsors, that were on the ballot in Arkansas, but due to separate litigation were rejected and votes for and against were not counted.

Two Arkansas Casino Amendments were on the November 6, 2012 ballot in the state of Arkansas as initiated constitutional amendments. One measure would have allowed 24-hour casinos in seven state counties. The proposal was introduced by Michael Wasserman, a Texas businessman who owns Arkansas Hotels and Entertainment Inc. His company would have both owned and operated the casinos, which would have been located in the counties of Sebastian, Pulaski, Garland, Miller, Crittenden, Boone and Jefferson.

The second proposal on the ballot was proposed by Nancy Todd to allow casinos in the state.

According to reports, if both measures were deemed valid for a public vote, the one with the most votes would have been enacted.[1]

Issue 3 is Nancy Todd's proposal.

Issue 4 is Michael Wasserman's proposal.

Election results

See also: 2012 ballot measure election results

Results were not tabulated due to litigation.

Text of measure

Measure 3

Popular name

An Amendment to Allow Nancy Todd's Poker Palace and Entertainment Venues, LLC to Own and Operate Four Casino Gaming Establishments, One Each in Pulaski, Miller, Franklin and Crittenden Counties[2][3]

Ballot title

An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution authorizing four casino gaming establishments, to be owned and operated by "Nancy Todd’s Poker Palace and Entertainment Venues, LLC" (a private limited liability company), one each to be located in Pulaski, Miller, Franklin and Crittenden Counties; prohibiting the general assembly and any political subdivision of the state from enacting any legislation, rules or regulations regarding casino gaming; prohibiting casino gaming at any other than the locations operated by Nancy Todd’s Poker Palace and Entertainment Venues, LLC (such prohibition may repeal the electronic games of skill act, and thereby prohibit Oaklawn Racing and Southland Racing from continuing to operate electronic games of skill at their respective race tracks in Hot Springs and West Memphis); prohibiting persons under the age of 21 from participating in casino gaming; requiring that the net gaming revenue of each casino shall be subject to the taxes levied by all of the taxing jurisdictions where a casino is located at the same rate as for businesses generally, with the tax to be paid to the state's general revenue fund account of the state apportionment fund; defining "net gaming revenue" as total annual gaming revenues, including compensation for conducting any game in which Nancy Todd’s Poker Palace and Entertainment Venues, LLC is not a party to the wager, minus amounts paid to cover the winnings of patrons; further requiring that the net gaming revenue of each casino be subject to an additional tax at the rate of twelve and one-half percent (12.5%); mandating that the proceeds of this additional tax shall not be subject to appropriation by the general assembly and declaring such proceeds to be cash funds held separate and apart from the state treasury with the additional proceeds distributed: (i) thirty percent (30%) to fund public schools in Arkansas; (ii) ten percent (10%) to the Arkansas Department of Veteran Affairs; (iii) eight percent (8%) to the Arkansas Children's Hospital; (iv) eight percent (8%) to the Medicaid program trust fund; (v) eight percent (8%) to a senior care prescription drug benefit program; (vi) six percent (6%) to the registered Arkansas state apprenticeship programs governed by the Arkansas Apprenticeship Coordination Steering Committee; (vii) twelve percent (12%) to the county in which a casino operates, based on net gaming revenue from operations in that county; and (viii) eighteen percent (18%) to all counties with no casino gaming, based on their population according to the most recent census; prohibiting any other state or local taxes, fees or assessments of any nature on Nancy Todd’s Poker Palace and Entertainment Venues, LLC, including on its furniture, fixtures, equipment, property, business operations, gross revenues, net gaming revenues, or income derived from or used in casino gaming except as levied against businesses generally; allowing a casino to operate any day for any portion of the day; allowing the selling or free furnishing of alcoholic beverages in casinos during all hours they operate but otherwise requiring adherence to all alcoholic beverage control board regulations; permitting the shipment into authorized counties of gambling devices duly registered, recorded and labeled pursuant to federal law; rendering the provisions of the amendment severable; declaring inapplicable all constitutional provisions and laws to the extent they conflict with this amendment but not otherwise repealing, superseding, amending or otherwise affecting amendments 84 (bingo) and 87 (statewide lottery) to the Arkansas Constitution.[2][3]

Measure 4

Popular name

An Amendment to Allow Arkansas Hotels and Entertainment, Inc. to Own and Operate Seven Casino Gaming Establishments, One Each in Sebastian, Pulaski, Garland, Miller, Crittenden, Boone and Jefferson Counties.[2][3]

Ballot title

An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution:

1) authorizing seven casino gaming establishments, to be owned and operated by "Arkansas Hotels and Entertainment, Inc." (a private for-profit corporation), one each to be located in Sebastian, Pulaski, Garland, Miller, Crittenden, Boone and Jefferson Counties; 2) prohibiting the general assembly and any political subdivision of the state from enacting any legislation, rules or regulations regarding casino gaming; 3) prohibiting casino gaming at any other than the locations operated by Arkansas Hotels and Entertainment, Inc.; 4) prohibiting persons under the age of 21 from participating in casino gaming; 5) requiring that the gross gaming revenue (as defined) of each casino shall be subject to the gross receipts tax levied by the taxing jurisdictions where a casino is located at the same rate as for businesses generally, with the tax to be paid to the state's general revenue fund account of the state apportionment fund; 6) further requiring that the gross gaming revenue (as defined) of each casino shall be subject to an additional tax at the rate of ten percent (10%) with the tax to be paid to the state's general revenue fund account of the state apportionment fund; 7) prohibiting any other state or local taxes, fees or assessments of any nature on Arkansas Hotels and Entertainment, Inc., including on its furniture, fixtures, equipment, property, business operations, gross revenues, gross gaming revenues, or income derived from or used in casino gaming except as levied against businesses generally; 8) allowing a casino to operate any day for any portion of the day; 9) allowing the selling or free furnishing of alcoholic beverages in casinos during all hours they operate but otherwise requiring adherence to all alcoholic beverage control board regulations; 10) permitting the shipment of gambling devices into authorized counties for purposes of federal law; 11) rendering the provisions of the amendment severable; 12) declaring inapplicable all constitutional provisions and laws to the extent they conflict with this amendment but not otherwise repealing, superseding, amending or otherwise affecting amendments 84 (bingo) and 87 (statewide lottery) to the Arkansas Constitution.[2][3]

Support

The following is information that was obtained from the supporting side of the measure:

  • According to Michael Wasserman, the sponsor and creator of one initiative proposal, the casinos would have brought a big attraction to Arkansas: “If we create destination resorts, it’s going to bring people from Texas and all of the surrounding states."[4]
  • According to Nancy Todd, who was leading the second initiative effort, "As long as I've been doing this, if you build it, they will come. What I want to see is mega-entertainment facilities."[5]
    • Todd also responded to allegations that she was trying to create a monopoly, saying, "I very much wanted the voters to decide the issue instead of the Legislature because I wanted them to know they have a choice. Talk about a monopoly. I’m not trying to bring one, I’m trying to bust one."[6]

Opposition

The following is information that was obtained from the opposing side of the measure:

  • The group Stop Casinos Now were against both initiatives.
    • The group was made of legislators, law enforcement officers and clergy.
    • Chuck Lange, a former director of the Arkansas Sheriff's Association, was the group's chairman.
  • Stop Casinos Now spokesman Robert McLarty stated, “There’s no secret. This is an effort by Delaware North, through Southland, in addition to (members of the committee) who are all very concerned that a person from Las Vegas is coming to Arkansas and trying to skip a process of oversight and regulations in place for many years."[6]
  • Jerry Cox, president of the Family Council Action Committee, stated that his group opposed the initiative. Cox said that he and his group believed that gambling hurts economy: "Casinos absorb the money that people would otherwise spend on everything from groceries and gasoline to new cars and houses, and when that happens, local businesses suffer and so do the folks working for them."[4]
  • Ozark Mayor Carol Sneath stated that she did not want a casino near her city in Franklin County. She stated, "We like the simplicity of our little area. We are a small community that has a lot to offer. We'd like to develop but we don't want to change our complexion."[5]

Polls

Polls, 2012 ballot measures
  • On July 19, 2012, a poll was taken by Talk Business-Hendrix College surveying 585 likely voters in the state regarding the measure proposed by Nancy Todd. According to reports, the question read, "A proposal related to casino gambling in Arkansas may also be on the ballot. The proposal would allow Nancy Todd’s Poker Palace the right to establish casinos in four Arkansas counties. If the election were today, would you vote for this casino gambling proposal?" The margin of error of the poll was +/- 4.4 percentage points.[7]


Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
July 19, 2012 Talk Business-Hendrix College 28% 66% 6% 585

Lawsuit

2012 measure lawsuits
Lawsuits.png
By state
ArizonaArkansasColoradoFloridaMaryland
MichiganMassachusettsMinnesota
MissouriMontanaNevada
North DakotaOhioOklahoma
OregonRhode Island
By lawsuit type
Ballot text
Campaign contributions
Constitutionality
Motivation of sponsors
Petitioner residency
Post-certification removal
Single-subject rule
Signature challenges
Initiative process
See also: List of ballot measure lawsuits in 2012

Michael Wasserman's challenge

On August 3, 2012, Michael Wasserman, sponsor of one of the two proposed casino amendments, filed a lawsuit with the Arkansas Supreme Court stating that elections officials should have given him more time to collect additional signatures needed to place the measure on the ballot. Previously, Wasserman's petition drive did not collect enough valid signatures by the state petition drive deadline in early July 2012.[8]

It is not unprecedented for the Arkansas Secretary of State to allow additional time for initiative organizers to collect signatures, however, reports said that Wasserman didn't meet a requirement that signatures from at least 15 counties equal at least 5 percent of the votes cast in the last governor's election.

The lawsuit argued that the 15-county rule should not apply since the campaign turned in more than 78,133 signatures, although not all were valid.

On September 20, 2012, the Arkansas Supreme Court denied the lawsuit's arguments, therefore denying Wasserman's request for more time to collect additional signatures. Wasserman's measure remained on the ballot for 2012, but votes were not counted[9]

Nancy Todd's challenge

On August 24, 2012, Nancy Todd, the supporter of the second initiative, filed a lawsuit with the Arkansas Supreme Court over the rejection of her proposal by state election officials. Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin's office rejected the revised wording that was submitted by supporters.

The lawsuit stated: "The secretary of state's threatened refusal to carry out this legal duty is a violation of his statutory obligations to the petitioners and the people and an abridgement of their rights under Amendment 7."[10]

However, on October 4, 2012, the Arkansas Supreme Court stated that the measure's language was changed while signatures were being collected, deeming them invalid. The measure remained on the ballot, but votes were not counted.[11]

Arkansas Racing Alliance v. Nancy Todd

On September 18, 2012, the Arkansas Racing Alliance filed a lawsuit with the Arkansas Supreme Court to block Nancy Todd's ballot proposal.[12]

The lawsuit challenged the legitimacy of the signatures that supporters submitted to the secretary of state and the language of the measure. This was the second lawsuit that has been filed regarding Nancy Todd's proposal. Todd's proposal was subsequently rejected by the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Path to the ballot

Supporters of the measures had until the July 6, 2012 petition drive deadline to collect the required 78,133 signatures needed to place an initiated constitutional amendment on the ballot in the state. Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel approved the Wasserman petition for circulation on November 16, 2011.[1]

First initiative

According to reports, the Arkansas Secretary of State's ruled during the week of July 11, 2012 that Michael Wasserman's initiative was invalid because he did not meet the signature requirement. According to reports, the initiative effort would not be given more time to collect signatures. Wasserman had seven days to challenge the ruling.[13]

On July 18, 20120, Wasserman challenged the ruling, telling the secretary of state's office that he should have been given 30 additional days to gather more signatures to meet the requirement.[14]

According to Wasserman, in a letter to the secretary's office, "If you feel that the petition is insufficient due to your disqualification of certain voters or errors contained on the petition sheets, then it is the constitutionally mandated of the secretary of state to so inform the sponsor of the amendment and allow 30 days to correct or amend the petition."[15]

Second initiative

Another initiative, this time proposed by the Las Vegas-based Poker Palace LLC., filed their initiative with the Arkansas Attorney General to collect signatures. However, on March 21, 2012, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel rejected the petition, citing ambiguities in the text. The group was allowed to file the initiative again to gain circulation approval.[16]

Then on April 9, 2012, after another filing of the measure, McDaniel again rejected the wording of the proposal, citing ambiguities. Supporters could still file the initiative again.[17]

On April 25, 2012, the ballot wording of the measure was approved by McDaniel. Therefore, the measure was approved for circulation.[18]

On June 28, 2012, supporters of the measure stated that they had more than 70,000 signatures on hand. Organizers of the measure turned in signature by the petition drive deadline.[19]

It was reported during the week of July 11, 2012 that Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel asked election officials to reject the proposal, stating that it was not legal due to the way tax money would be distributed if the proposal is enacted. The request stemmed from a challenge by state resident Elizabeth Williams. However, on July 20, 2012, the secretary of state's office rejected the challenge.[20]

A second challenge then came from the group Stop Casinos Now. No reports had surfaced about developments regarding the Stop Casinos Now challenge to the measure.[21]

On July 23, 2012, secretary of state spokesman Alex Reed stated that the initiative had fallen short of the required amount of signatures needed to make the ballot. According to reports, the initiative effort had 30 days to collect the additional signatures needed.[22]

According to reports, the group behind the measure submitted new ballot language after the Arkansas Secretary of State claimed the language was insufficient. The supporting group stated that the new language did not alter the law, so signatures should have been counted when submitted by the deadline. According to Nancy Todd, who spearheaded the petition drive, "We'll be well over 100,000, and we've had the luxury of a little more time this round to be able to double check everybody's registration which is something we suffered from in the short time frame we had the first run. So, we feel good about it. You know, we fully expect that the people of Arkansas will have a chance to vote on this issue on November 6 which has been my goal from the day I started in January."[23]

Then, the Arkansas Secretary of State rejected the newly submitted language, causing a lawsuit to be filed by Todd with the Arkansas Supreme Court.[24]

While the lawsuit was being reviewed, election officials stated that the initiative collected the required amount of signatures to make the ballot. The measure was ultimately rejected by the Supreme Court.[25]

See also

Additional reading

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 The City Wire, "Casino amendment qualifies for ballot signatures", November 16, 2011
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2012 General Election and Nonpartisan Judicial Run-Off Washington County, Arkansas November 6, 2012
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Arkansas News, "Casino amendment ‘will be on the ballot,’ promoter says", November 17, 2011
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Republic, "Supporters gathering signatures for casino plans; 78k needed to get on Arkansas ballot", May 14, 2012
  6. 6.0 6.1 Booneville Democrat, "Second Group Forms To Oppose Casino Initiatives", May 18, 2012
  7. Talk Business, "Casino Proposal Facing Long, Tough Odds", Retrieved July 30, 2012
  8. WSLS.com, "Suit filed in Ark. over casino petition rejection", August 3, 2012
  9. Memphis Daily News, "Arkansas Court Rejects More Time for Casino Measure", September 21, 2012
  10. CBS News, "Lawsuit filed over Ark. casino measure rejection", August 24, 2012
  11. The Republic, "Arkansas Supreme Court rejects proposed ballot measure to allow casinos in the state", October 4, 2012
  12. Arkansas Business, "Arkansas Racing Alliance Sues To Block Nancy Todd Casino Proposal", September 18, 2012
  13. Today's THV, "Election officials: Ark casinos measure invalid", July 11, 2012
  14. KTTS.com, "Casino Backer Challenges Denial By Arkansas Officials", July 18, 2012
  15. Arkansas News, "UPDATE:Texas challenging rejection of Ark casino amendment", July 18, 2012
  16. Arkansas News, "AG rejects casino proposal", March 21, 2012
  17. The Republic, "Ark. attorney general's office rejects wording for proposed ballot title for casino measure", April 9, 2012
  18. KATV.com, "Ark. AG rejects 1 ballot item, approves another", Retrieved April 25, 2012
  19. Arkansas Matters, "Group Very Close to Getting Casinos on Arkansas Ballot", June 28, 2012
  20. Kait 8.com, "Arkansas AG: Reject challenge to casino proposal", July 11, 2012
  21. SW Times, "Challenges To Arkansas Casino Proposal Rejected", July 21, 2012
  22. The Republic, "Secretary of state's office says casino measure short on signatures from registered voters", July 24, 2012
  23. KUAR.org, "Nancy Todd Submits Wording Change, Says She'll Have Plenty Of Signatures", August 20, 2012
  24. CBS News, "Lawsuit filed over Ark. casino measure rejection", August 24, 2012
  25. Business Week, "Ark. casino measure meets signature requirement", September 14, 2012