May 6, 2003
Posted at: 3:44 p.m. CDT
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A revised proposal to allow wagering on video poker and other electronic games at the state's two pari-mutuel tracks won committee approval in the special legislative session Tuesday.
With no dissenting votes the House Rules Committee endorsed the proposal by Representative Steve Jones of Marion. Unlike its predecessor that failed in the House in the regular session, Jones' updated bill would allow local votes on whether to authorize the new form of gambling.
The measure would affect Oaklawn Park thoroughbred race track at Hot Springs and Southland Greyhound Park in West Memphis.
Another new provision would increase the payout to the state from $18 million per year, to $26 million dollars. The money would go into the state's general fund.
Kennel owners told the committee the legislation is essential for the West Memphis track to survive amid strong competition from casinos in Mississippi and other bordering states. Also, Tennessee is starting a lottery later this year.
The bill goes to the House.