Panel Advances West Memphis Lawmaker's Gambling Bill

February 6, 2004 - Posted at 7:12 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A bill that would allow video poker at race tracks if local voters approve the idea, was advanced by the House Rules Committee on Thursday.

The measure by Representative Steven Jones of West Memphis would expand gambling at Oaklawn Park thoroughbred racetrack in Hot Springs and Southland Greyhound Park in West Memphis.

Jones said the bill would bring in an additional $26 million a year in new state revenue.

For months, opponents of expanding gambling at the tracks in Arkansas have run media ads warning against legislation by gambling interests to tie gambling to education reforms.

Nine weeks into a special session, Jones' bill was the first gambling measure to be filed.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)