Oaklawn Park is the winner in the lawsuit challenging the election procedures that implemented a new state law allowing an expansion of machine gambling at the track in Hot Springs and the dog track in West Memphis. A judge dismissed the suit filed in Hot Springs.
"An appeal on our side is likely," said Gabe Allen, state coordinator for the Family Council Action Committee, which financed separate lawsuits in Hot Springs and West Memphis. Allen said the judge in Hot Springs at least turned back the effort to have the plaintiffs' lawsuit dismissed on account of timeliness, but ruled the plaintiffs had no meritorious claim and dismissed the suit. The plaintiffs argued that the law unconstitutionally delegated decisions about a local option election on expanded gambling to the race track. Plaintiffs in the case argued that county voters, not just city voters, should have voted on the gambling expansion.
The state Racing Commission has been working for several months on rules to cover expanded gambling at the tracks. They are in theory to be "games of skill," decided by factors not solely decided by chance. Video poker is expected to be a key offering and the machines will be set to pay off at predetermined rates -- in favor of the house, of course.
UPDATE: Here's the Oaklawn release:
Garland County Circuit Court Judge John Lineberger on Tuesday dismissed a complaint filed in December against electronic games of skill at Oaklawn Park. Voters in the City of Hot Springs passed a ballot initiative to allow such games of skill in a November election. Judge Lineberger’s opinion indicated that the complaint contained “no genuine issues of material fact”.
In response to Judge Lineberger’s decision, Oaklawn general manager Eric Jackson noted “We are very pleased that the judge has ruled in favor of the vote of the will of the people. We will continue to work with the Arkansas State Racing Commision on the Rules and Regulations for the new games. We are ready to move ahead with the opportunity to put more people to work and generate tax revenue.”