WEST MEMPHIS, AR (abc24.com) - They look more like a crapshoot than a sure shot. Two proposals to bring more casinos to Arkansas are in limbo.
They would give Texas businessman, Michael Wasserman, and professional poker player, Nancy Todd, exclusive rights to operate casinos in several Arkansas counties, including Crittenden.
Both came up short on signatures. Nancy Todd and Michael Wasserman each needed 78,000 signatures to get their competing proposals on the ballot.
Both thought they were in the clear when they turned in their petitions earlier this month, but they were wrong and a local gaming operator couldn't be happier about it.
“We're not anti-casino gambling expansion. We're more concerned about this is an unregulated monopoly in the state of Arkansas,” said Troy Keeping, President and General Manager of Southland Park Gaming and Racing. He was never confident that either proposal would make it on the November ballot.
The Secretary of State's Office says Nancy Todd had about 55,000 invalid signatures. Even so she's not worried. She has 30 days to make things right.
“The machine is well oiled and we probably got 300 people on the ground in different parts of the state and changing into pros who do nothing but do this for a living so we'll get that shortfall so we'll make the difference,” Todd said.
Michael Wasserman's proposal is also in jeopardy due to a lack of signatures. Unlike Todd, the Secretary of State is not giving him 30 days to make up the difference.
“We're going to take this to the Supreme Court of the State of Arkansas and let the Justices make their decision on it, which I'm sure they're going to overturn what the Secretary of State said,” Wasserman stated.
News of the casino proposals faltering is welcome news to some.
“I don't think that would be a good idea for there to be a monopoly at all,” said Terrie Laubach.
Others see it differently.
“I would love it because it'll be more jobs for us," noted Marrett Mccleandon.
Southland Park stands to lose the most if Nancy Todd or Michael Wasserman get the green light to operate a casino in Crittenden County. Either option could shut down Southland Park.
Both Wassermann and Todd are confident that when the dust settles their proposals will make it on the November ballot.