Courtesy of Conduit For Action
If passed, Issue #4 authorizes four Arkansas casinos. One casino is reserved for Oaklawn Racing and Gaming in Hot Springs. One is reserved for Southland Park Racing and Gaming in West Memphis. The other two casinos must be put in or within two miles of Russellville and Pine Bluff.
Russellville is the home of Arkansas Tech University with an enrollment of over 12,000 students. Arkansas Tech was founded in 1909 and offers baccalaureate and graduate degrees. It is a campus of 516 acres.
In addition, Pine Bluff is the home of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff with an enrollment of over 2,600 students. The university was founded in 1873 and offers baccalaureate and graduate degrees. It is a campus of 318 acres.
The state of Arkansas and private donors have made a substantial investment in the success of these two universities. This could be very bad news for these universities. Will parents still want to send their children to casino town universities or will they encourage their children to go somewhere else?
Why did the casino backers pick these two college towns? Was it to take advantage of cheap college student labor?
Issue #4 is a bad deal for these two universities and it is a bad deal for Arkansas.