Gambling enforcement amendment bill gets vetoed in Arkansas

The ammendment was passed easily by both chambers but Hutchinson didn't approve it.
The ammendment was passed easily by both chambers but Hutchinson didn't approve it.

Senator Scott Filipo’s SB 496 wanted to stop the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control from judging the legality of gaming operations.

US.- Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has vetoed a bill that would have restricted Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) activity to reporting violations related to their field only. Senator Scott Flippo (R-Mountain Home) promoted Senate Bill 496 -authored by himself- that would’ve pushed the ABC to turn the blind eye if they happen to found illegal gambling activity while conducting inspections of their own.

The ammendment to current state’s charitable gaming law passed both chambers of the Arkansas General Assembly last month but failed to gain Hutchinson’s favor as he sated that enforcement agents cannot be told to disregard the Arksansas law: “With this bill, the legislative branch has singled out a single enforcement agency in an effort to prevent the executive branch from enforcing existing criminal laws,” he asserted. “Prohibiting executive enforcement of laws enacted by the General Assembly is not the proper method to address these concerns.”

Current state’s charitable gaming law allows groups like the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Elk’s Club, and other nonprofits to house gaming machines and organise bingo and small games of chance like pull tabs.

The main issue came when slot and video gaming machines appeared in gas stations all across the state. When coming across them, ABC has often informed local authorities about their existence and even shut them down themselves. Owners have claimed that said machines are legal since gamblers are rewarded with store credit instead of mony. Senator Flippo went further and accused the ABC of harrassing bussines owners. He assures that the ABC -that operates under Governor’s executive branch- shouldn’t have a saying when it comes to the legality of a gaming machine. But, at least for now, things will remain the same after Hutchinson’s veto.