BOONE COUNTY, Ark. — The push to bring casinos to four counties in Arkansas, including Boone, is back on the table.
The private ballot committee proposing the casinos is called “Arkansas Wins in 2018.” The group is comprised of business and community leaders — including Bob Womack, who’s from the Branson area.
They’re hoping to get the issue before voters in November.
An attorney for the group says the casinos would pay an annual gaming tax equal to 20%of each casino’s annual net gaming receipt — in which 70% would grow the Arkansas highway fund. Other generated money would help fund other counties in the state.
The amendment also includes the creation of a five-member Arkansas gaming commission, to make sure the casinos are regulated properly.
The Branson residents that KOLR10 spoke to, support the idea of nearby Boone County having a casino.
“I think the casinos would be a great job opportunity for people here. I think we could do a lot of people a good service,” said resident Janet, who only wanted to give her first name.
Justin Beard, says he thinks bringing a casino to Boone County is “brilliant.”
“It would bring in a lot of the younger crowd. Well, as right now we bring in the older crowd.”
Even those who don’t agree with gambling, are on board.
“I don’t agree with gambling, but yet I do see where for the economic part of it, said Ruby Comer of Branson, “It does bring people here.”
But according to Harrison mayor Dan Sherrell, residents in Boone County don’t want a casino in their town — and they are also concerned about the decision-making process.
“The way it was set up then it was proposed that four counties in the state would be voted on by the state as a whole.”
“Funding for that last one, I didn’t think was fair. A lot of people in the legislature did not think it was fair also.”
In order for the issue to make the November ballot, it must first be approved by Arkansas Attorney General, Leslie Rutledge and receive close to 85,000 signatures from registered voters by July 6th.