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Arkansas Hold Electronic Gambling to A Vote. 2005-08-30
Oaklawn Park has requested that Hot Springs, Arkansas, conduct a vote about the future of electronic gambling in the state. The special election will take place November 8. This will hopefully shape the state.
The Arkansas Legislature passed Act 1151 this past spring. The act allowed the state�s two pari-mutuel facilities to possibly expand. The tracks, Oaklawn and Southland Greyhound Park in West Memphis offer live pari-mutuel racing, simulcasting, and instant racing. Instant racing is a casino electronic game on virtual horse races. The Arkansas Racing Commission has yet to define what would qualify as electronic games.
The Hot Springs board of directors received an ordinance from Oaklawn on Monday. The board will consider the track�s request on September 6, at a meeting. The track could increase by $56-million with 14% of that allotted toward purses, an estimate of the State Department of Finance and Administration. These facts are based on figures from a 2002 study made by the two tracks, marked by a Chicago team.
Oaklawn�s sources, including instant racing, at the conclusion of its 2005 meeting from the spring, was at a record of $280,341,701. This record was a 2.5% increase from its 2004 rankings. Instant racing was at 19% of that total, with $38,681,732 wagered on the machines. This was more than double the $16,523,932 wagered on instant racing made in 2004.
Oaklawn has 260 instant racing machines. While waiting for the vote, instant racing continues. Instant racing will operate seven days a week until the 2006 meeting occurs on January 20th. That date will answer the question where electronic gambling in Arkansas will stand.
(By Andrea)