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Casino amendment to stay on November ballot

(MGN Photo)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP/KATV) -- Arkansas' Supreme Court has rejected efforts to disqualify a proposed casino legalization initiative, dismissing two lawsuits which claimed the ballot's wording was misleading and ambiguous on several issues.

In two rulings Thursday, Arkansas' highest court said the ballot's text was clear and did not mislead voters.

The proposed amendment would issue casino licenses at a Hot Springs horse track and at a West Memphis dog track, both of which currently offer electronic gambling. It also would legalize casinos in Jefferson and Pope counties.

One ruling was unanimous, but Justice Jo Hart disagreed in part with the other, saying the language was misleading enough to strike the issue from the ballot.

Last month, the secretary of state's office certified that the amendment had garnered enough signatures to appear on the ballot.

Nate Steel, the counsel for Driving Arkansas Forward, had this to say about the ruling: "These decisions clear the way for Arkansas voters to add almost $6 billion to our state’s economy and create 6,000 new jobs through a fair, measured and merit-based expansion of casino gaming. We are grateful the Supreme Court upheld the Attorney General’s certification that Issue 4 is clear and understandable to voters. We are confident Arkansans will vote to keep casino entertainment dollars in our state when they cast their ballots on Nov. 6."

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