AG Sets Ballot Title for Arkansas Charitable Bingo Amendment in Arkansas

NOVEMBER 22, 2005 - Posted at 8:03 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A measure that would let charitable organizations in Arkansas conduct bingo games and raffles now has an official, formal name from the attorney general's office.

Such events are now barred by the state constitution.  But legislators voted this year to put the issue on the 2006 ballot, so the notice yesterday from Attorney General Mike Beebe's office was largely procedural.  But it moves Arkansas a step closer to allowing some games of chance under the law.

State Representative Shirley Borhauer of Bella Vista sponsored the bill to put the issue on next year's general election ballot.  She says Arkansans are going to Tunica, Mississippi, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, to do all kinds of gambling for all different reasons, but Arkansas is saying, no gambling, not even for a good cause.

While gambling has long been prohibited outside of the state's pari-mutual race tracks, some groups have conducted bingo games or raffles anyway.  Police enforcement against charitable groups has been spotty, and for a time in the 1990s Arkansas allowed the registration and taxing of bingo parlors.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)