Southland Invests in Campaigns for Expanded Gambling Measure

NOVEMBER 7, 2005 - Posted at 3:27 p.m. CST

WEST MEMPHIS, AR - Opposition to gambling ballot items in West Memphis and Hot Springs has been muted, compared to campaigns by backers of the measures.

Voters decide tomorrow whether to allow expansion of "electronic games of skill" at Southland Greyhound Park in West Memphis and Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs.  Together, the tracks have spent more than $1 million to tout the benefits that expanded gambling would bring.  The tracks say "yes" votes would ensure the tracks' survival and lead to more jobs and stronger local economies.

Local opposition groups have only had a few thousand dollars to spend.  Opponents of the measures cite the social cost that would come if gambling becomes more accessible in their communities.  No statewide group has led the charge against the ballot items.

One of the local opposition groups in West Memphis has been led by a ministerial alliance called "Pastors Against Gambling."

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)