by Susanne Brunner
Shreveport, La. (KARK.com) – On Election Day, Arkansas voters will cast ballots for or against Issue 4. It would amend the Arkansas Constitution to authorize four casinos to operate in the state. Susanne Brunner went to Shreveport, Louisiana to learn more about the impact casinos have in the city and what that could mean for Arkansas.
A city rich in history has seen its fair share of various businesses pop up, but none quite like this.
“This was a multi-million dollar industry,” says Liz Swaine, Executive Director of the Shreveport Downtown Development Authority.
Louisiana voters approved casino gaming in the mid 90’s. Swaine remembers a majority of people who were excited about the beneficial impact casinos would have on Shreveport and Bossier City.
“It was going to be spending a lot of money, they were going to be building infrastructure, they were going to be hiring a lot of people,” she explains.
The proposal, also came with concerns about crime.
“We have not seen an uptick in crime. We truly have not,” she adds.
In fact, Swaine believes casinos are some of the safest places in the city. There were also worries about people going all in with money they don’t have.
“I don’t think the fact that people come here and spend money has increased our poverty,” continues Swaine.
Since the beginning, Louisiana State Senator John Milkovich saw this as a high-stakes plan with no jackpot in sight.