Pending Arkansas legislation could bring casino to White County

New casino licenses may be on the 2018 ballot. Courtesy of Google Images.

Searcy, Ark., (LP) — Recently in Arkansas a group is making an effort to have three casino licenses put on the 2018 voting ballot. This could be a major game changer for Arkansas economy and infrastructure. The group has proposed to the attorney general (Leslie Rutledge) for the vote to be put on the ballot. The casinos would have a major impact on Arkansas road infrastructure because 65% of the tax revenue from each of the three possible casinos will be used to better the roads. Voters would vote to decide if there will be two casinos, the third casino license would be decided by the lottery division. If the lottery division does in fact approve of the third casino then White County is in the mix for eligible counties.

Cherokee Casinos and Hotels in Arkansas. Courtesy of Google Images.

The Quapaw tribe that would be the apparent owners and developers are very interested in Arkansas economic status. The group that is pushing for the casinos is called Driving Arkansas Forward. If this is approved by the attorney general then the group will need 85,000 signatures from at least 15 different counties. Searcy has had very recent situation with liquor licenses. The casino will serve alcohol as most casinos do, this would be another huge stepping stone in Searcy history. If these licenses are in-fact passed and given out that alone could bring in several job opportunities because it will give the state more money to put into highway repairs and give many more chances that the state will do more road work. This would call for more people for all kinds of positions. Not only will this bring more job opportunities to the highway department but it would also require a full time staff at the casinos. There are several huge pros to the casinos, they bring in tax revenue, tourist, and again new jobs. Arkansas is ranked number 20 in the country for unemployment so the state is already doing pretty well but with these casinos that would put up more job opportunities. Not only will this bring new job opportunities but it will bring in new hotel companies and possible restaurants and the possibilities are endless when it comes to this.

I spoke with the Searcy’s own city alderman Steve Sterling, I asked him what his thoughts were on this possibility and he said,  “he does not see Searcy receiving the license because of our current liquor license situation and that he does not see it being passed here in Searcy.” I spoke with local resident Betty Harris to get her thoughts on the subject. Mrs.Harris said, “I feel that this could be a huge step for Searcy.” She also feels that “it will be hard for the casino to be in Searcy due to all of the recent issues we have had with the liquor licenses.”

This news and information is very recent and has very little that has been published on it. It is uncertain when this could be approved, or put down. We  will have to wait until March 7, 2018 to know for sure if we will recieve these casinos.

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