Arkansas justices to decide lottery proposal's fate

By Chris Rizo | Oct 14, 2008

Arkansas Supreme Court building

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Legal Newsline)-The Arkansas Supreme Court is considering whether to block a proposal for a state-run lottery from the Nov. 4 ballot.

Democratic Lt. Gov. Bill Halter and proponents of his plan are asking the state's high court to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the text of the proposed constitutional amendment.

The Family Council Action Committee says the lottery proposal's name and ballot title are "materially inaccurate, incomplete and misleading" because voters are not told that the proposal would remove language from the state constitution that prohibits lotteries.

Halter's Hope for Arkansas Committee says the lottery would generate millions of dollars for college scholarships. Arkansas is one of just eight states without a lottery.

"There is no great revolution happening," Hope for Arkansas lawyer Jess Askew told the justices Monday. "All that is being proposed is that the people of Arkansas put Arkansas in the same group with 42 other states. Ninety-four percent of the U.S. population lives in states where there are lotteries."

Proponents of the plan say the Family Council Action Committee's argument that establishing a state lottery would lead to casino gaming in the state is a red herring.

"Casino gambling is prohibited by statute in Arkansas, not by the Constitution," a court filing said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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