Weather-related closings

Arkansas voters legalize 4 casinos, including one in West Memphis

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. - - Arkansas voters have made it possible for Southland Gaming and Racing to become a major gambling destination. A ballot measure approved last night made it legal for Southland to add a full casino on top of the video poker and other electronic gambling already available. It means you'll see table games like blackjack, craps, or roulette.

"It's going to be something to see," West Memphis City Council Member Helen Harris says.

She's excited and that's because the city gets 1.5% of Southland's gaming revenue every year. In 2017, it was $3.2 million.  It's unclear when the coming upgrades will be done but they'll likely mean more crowds and more money.

"Whatever it will be it will be a blessing. It's going to help the people of West Memphis," Harris says.

The ballot measure was strongly opposed by anti-gambling advocates. The Arkansas Supreme Court recently rejected two lawsuits that would have removed it from the ballot.

West Memphis resident Marquale Walton says gambling is okay if you do it responsibly.

"Maybe go a couple times like on weekends... not too many (times) though," he says.

Harris says people are going to do it anyway so the city might as well get a piece of the action instead of letting Tunica get all the business.

"And it'll be better for our city," Harris says, "And help our schools and things."

The ballot measure also legalized casinos in three other Arkansas counties.