HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) — An additional $3.65 million in tax revenue expected following the passage of a casino gaming amendment could be used to finance Hot Springs' unfunded debt, the city manager said.
Under the amendment approved by voters in November, Hot Springs will receive 19.5% of the 13% tax applied to the first $150 million of yearly net gaming revenues and a 20% tax on net receipts exceeding $150 million.
On Tuesday, City Manager Bill Burrough suggested to Hot Spring's Board of Directors that extra gains should be placed in a restricted fund for unfunded capital needs, The Sentinel-Record reported. He also pitched the idea of forming a citizens committee to help prioritize the allocation of additional tax receipts.
"It's something I would like, to have some community input as we develop these particular projects," Burrough said.
Last year, the city received $2.16 million revenue from the 1.5% tax on revenue from Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs, but it projects a 69% jump in net games of skill revenue from the resort under the new tax formula. Oaklawn netted $144 million from games of skill in 2018.
The revised tax takes effect July 1.
The city expects Oaklawn's taxable income to rise once casino gaming is completely implemented. Oaklawn has already launched live craps and blackjack, and a sportsbook is anticipated in the near future.
The resort plans to begin a $100 million expansion of its gaming facilities in May.
The Legislature recently approved a law permitting local governments to pledge casino tax income to debt issued for capital improvements, pending approval from a local ballot vote.