Oaklawn Waiting on Court Decision Before Expanding Gaming Areas

HOT SPRINGS, AR - Oaklawn's general manager says the racetrack is unlikely to build a new gaming area this year because of a pending lawsuit that challenges an election that allowed expanded gambling.

Eric Jackson, general manager of the horse track in Hot Springs, says he hopes to someday expand the gaming area at Oaklawn, but probably not until the Arkansas Supreme Court rules on the lawsuit.

In 2005, the Legislature approved a local-option measure for voters in West Memphis and Hot Springs to decide whether to approve the addition of electronic games of skill.  Both measures passed, and the tracks began offering the games last year.

But an anti-gambling group filed two lawsuits, arguing that the elections should have been open to voters in Garland and Crittenden counties, not just voters in Hot Springs and West Memphis.  Judges ruled for the tracks and Family Action Council appealed to the state Supreme Court.

The high court has not yet heard oral arguments in the case.