Petition hopeless, but gambling backer remains hopeful.BARRY L. EMIGH HAS SPENT TWO years dreaming of designing world-class casinos for Arkansas.
But his dream most likely will remain locked away in his mind for at least another two years.
The 41-year-old Hot Springs man needs to collect about 70,000 signatures by July 5 in order to place on the November ballot his proposed constitutional amendment to allow casino gambling in the stare.
It's a safe bet that he won't make it. Several setbacks have all but killed the proposed amendment this year.
The biggest one came on June 11, when the Arkansas Securities Department ordered the designer and artist to stop offering shares of stock to people who collected signatures for the ballot initiative.
Emigh, pronounced "Amy," has appealed the order to the Arkansas Supreme Court The Arkansas Supreme Court is the highest court in the U.S. state of Arkansas. It consists of a Chief Justice and six Associate Justices. The Justices are elected in a non-partisan election for a term of eight years. and has vowed to continue offering shares in his proposed company, Diamond State Casinos Ltd., which would oversee the operation of the casino business in nine counties in Arkansas List of 75 counties in the U.S. state of Arkansas:
State Abbr. FIPS State Code State
AR 05 Arkansas
FIPS County Code County Name
001 Arkansas County
003 Ashley County
005 Baxter County
007 Benton County
009 Boone County
011 Bradley County .
John Moore John Moore may be: Clergy
"We don't believe his suit has any merit," Moore said.
Others aren't worried about the proposed amendment, which also would legalize le·gal·ize
tr.v. le·gal·ized, le·gal·iz·ing, le·gal·iz·es
To make legal or lawful; authorize or sanction by law.
le charity bingo bingo
Game of chance played with cards having a grid of numbered squares corresponding to numbered balls drawn at random. When a number on the card is drawn, the players cover that number (should they have it); the game is won by covering a certain number of squares in a row and a state lottery A game of chance operated by a state government.
Generally a lottery offers a person the chance to win a prize in exchange for something of lesser value. Most lotteries offer a large cash prize, and the chance to win the cash prize is typically available for one dollar. , because they're sure Emigh won't gather enough signatures in time.
"It's a joke," said Larry Page For the music producer/manager, see .
Lawrence Edward "Larry" Page (born March 26 1973 in Lansing, Michigan) is an American entrepreneur who co-founded the Google internet search engine, now Google Inc., with Sergey Brin. , the executive director of Arkansas Faith and Ethics Council in Little Rock. Page also called Emigh's campaign amateurish.
"We're keeping our powder dry on this one," he said. "We can't take it too seriously at this point."
The Secretary of State's Office requires 70,601 signatures of registered voters by July 5 in order for the proposed amendment to qualify for the ballot in November. As of June 18, Emigh had collected about 1,000 signatures.
Two of the reasons the campaign hasn't gotten off the ground is Emigh doesn't have anyone working for him and he hasn't spent any money on the campaign.
Instead, Emigh wants people to go to his Web site, print out and sign the form, and mail it to him. A second Web site offers the text of the proposed amendment, but it sometimes doesn't work.
Emigh said if he had the money he would pay an agency to collect the signatures.
"He doesn't have two nickels
Nickels is a gambling coin game played with any desired denomination of coins. to rub together," said one of Emigh's supporters, Glen Mortin. "He's gone without electricity to support [the amendment]."
Mortin, a musician who has homes in Hollywood, Fla., and Hot Springs, said he let Emigh borrow his Cadillac to support the campaign and has given him a few bucks for gas.
Hiring someone to gather signatures, the method used to get the last gambling amendment on a statewide ballot, is out of Emigh's price range.
In 2000, Robert W. Buchholz, an officer of Arkansas Casino Corp., paid $180,000 to National Voters Outreach Outreach is an effort by an organization or group to connect its ideas or practices to the efforts of other organizations, groups, specific audiences or the general public. , a Nevada company that promises to collect enough signatures to put any initiative on a ballot.
Arkansas Casino Corp., which also wanted to legalize casino gambling in the state, collected enough signatures but lost in the November election. Even Emigh said he didn't vote for the ACC's amendment.
Emigh also has vowed not to accept supporters' money -- not that anyone's offered.
"Why would I want to take somebody's money when I'm trying to help them, and most of the people I'm trying to help can't afford it?" he said.
Mortin said Emigh's attitude is what attracted him to the movement.
"He's the most unselfish, giving person -- as far as rights of people and challenging laws and issues -- that I've ever met," said Mortin, who became friends with Emigh after meeting him at one of his rallies about a year ago. "He's a John Wayne without a horse and six-shooter. Instead, he uses a computer and telephone."
Emigh's grass-roots campaign, which has received little fanfare, may be the reason some aren't taking him seriously.
"That's their opinion," Emigh said. "I threw this out there to give people a choice. It does hurt when people think their efforts are in vain vain
adj. vain·er, vain·est
1. Not yielding the desired outcome; fruitless: a vain attempt.
2. Lacking substance or worth: vain talk.
3. . I put this out there because I thought it would benefit a lot of people."
Given the chance, Emigh reels off an enticing vision of his casinos.
One would be a 320,000-SE replica Earlier document exchange software from Farallon Communications, Inc. that converted a Windows or Mac document into a proprietary viewing format. The viewer could be distributed separately or embedded within the document itself, turning it into a single-document viewer. of the Titanic Titanic (tītăn`ĭk), British liner that sank on the night of Apr. 14–15, 1912, after crashing into an iceberg in the N Atlantic S of Newfoundland. More than 1,500 lives were lost. -- so large that it would need 15,000-20,000 employees to operate.
But that is dwarfed by his idea for an aircraft carrier casino, which would need 25,000-30,000 employees. The casino would be below deck so people could visit the airplanes on the top deck The term Top Deck can refer to a number of things:
"You don't have to gamble, but I want these to be for people for an educational experience," Emigh said.
Emigh is predicting the casinos will bring in at least $1 billion a year in revenue. He said he came up with the economic figures based on a publication by the American Gaming Association The American Gaming Association (AGA) is a United States gaming industry association.
The AGA was founded in 1995 with the goal of promoting, educating and lobbying on behalf of the gaming entertainment industry through education and advocacy. called "Economic Impact of Casino Gambling in the United States Gambling, often referred to as "gaming", had 2005 gross revenues of $84.65 billion, and thrives in the United States.
Proponents of gambling in the United States say it provides valuable tax revenue and job opportunities. ."
He would own 50 percent of the stock in Diamond State Casinos, "which is my way of having artistic control," Emigh said.
If it passes, Emigh would appoint six people, and they would elect the company's officers.
The company then would bid the projects out to other casino companies to operate. The regulation will be in the hands of Legislators, who also will decide how much to tax the industry.
"I'm trusting," he said.
Emigh said the new source of tax revenue will bail the state of its financial woes.
"I'm just trying to help." Emigh said. But Page, of the Faith and Ethics Council, disagrees.
"You know that gambling promoters are the most altruistic al·tru·ism
1. Unselfish concern for the welfare of others; selflessness.
2. Zoology Instinctive cooperative behavior that is detrimental to the individual but contributes to the survival of the species. people as a group in the world," Page said sarcastically sar·cas·tic
1. Expressing or marked by sarcasm.
2. Given to using sarcasm.
[sarc(asm) + -astic, as in enthusiastic. . "It's never about owning or operating a casino, it's strictly about providing much-needed revenue to the state."
Last summer, Emigh first introduced his plans for casinos in the state, but in that version, Emigh was criticized for having too much control over Diamond State Casinos.
At a rally in September, only one supporter showed up, Page said.
"There was nobody there except some reporters and one woman who was helping him," Page said.
Emigh said he managed to collect about 50,000 signatures while he was at the State Fair, but the project derailed when he was in an auto accident that left him on his back for six weeks.
After the accident, he thought the cause was lost.
"I lost all the momentum," he said. "I didn't think I'll be able to do it."
He then came up with the idea to revise the amendment to offer stock in the company and post the petition on the Internet for signatures.
"That way anybody, anywhere around the state can access that," he said.
But he had to start over with no signatures.
The proposed amendment calls for each person who collected signatures to get a share of stock for each registered voter signature collected. Emigh also would get a share of stock for every signature collected.
"I always wanted (Arkansans) to share in the profit in gambling," Emigh said. "It was never intended to be selfish self·ish
1. Concerned chiefly or only with oneself: "Selfish men were . . . trying to make capital for themselves out of the sacred cause of human rights" Maria Weston Chapman. ."
The Arkansas Attorney General's Office, which approves constitutional amendments for the ballot, rejected Emigh's proposal 13 times because the language was ambiguous. It finally approved the proposal on May 13.
"I didn't have a problem with the Attorney General," Emigh said, "because (the attorney general) wanted to be precise and I wanted him to be precise."
When the Arkansas Securities Department heard about the initiative on the radio, it started investigating.
"I got in trouble the first damn day," he said.
The Securities Department ruled that Emigh was offering unregistered, nonexempt shares in Diamond State Casino. The department also found that Emigh is not registered to sell or offer stock.
Emigh was ordered to stop offering the stock in exchange for signatures. But Emigh said he should be exempt because the offering of shares involved a constitutional amendment.
Emigh said he thinks the Securities Department problems hindered him.
"I was not even expecting to get into any controversy over the securities, which dirties it," he said. "Because people are looking at this as a fraud, which it's not."
Emigh promises he'll still offer the stock.
"If we do get the signatures on this one way or the other, we'll work this out," he said. "I do want people to have that money.
If the amendment fails, it won't be Emigh's first failure in the public eye.
In 2000, he tried to place two constitutional amendments on the ballot: one to abolish the sales tax sales tax, levy on the sale of goods or services, generally calculated as a percentage of the selling price, and sometimes called a purchase tax. It is usually collected in the form of an extra charge by the retailer, who remits the tax to the government. on food and the other to allow the use of marijuana marijuana or marihuana, drug obtained from the flowering tops, stems, and leaves of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa (see hemp) or C. indica; the latter species can withstand colder climates. for medical purposes.
Neither one got enough signatures to get on the ballot.
"I did not have the support group at that time," he said.
He also ran for the District 61 seat in the state House of Representatives in the May 2000 Democratic primary. He was crushed by Mary Anne Salmon, 1,249 votes to 173.
"He was a very nice guy," Salmon said. "I didn't get a chance to get to know him."
Emigh didn't take any contributions in that election, but he did place some homemade home·made
1. Made or prepared in the home: homemade pie.
2. Made by oneself.
3. Crudely or simply made.
Adj. 1. signs up around the district.
Growing up in Indiana, Emigh received a scholarship in high school to go to art school. He hoped to go to the Art Institute of Chicago Art Institute of Chicago, museum and art school, in Grant Park, facing Michigan Ave. It was incorporated in 1879; George Armour was the first president. Since 1893 the Institute has been housed in its present building, designed in the Italian Renaissance style by but ended up at Indiana Vocational College, where he received a two-year degree in drafting.
He was the son of a truck driver, and his mother worked in a grocery store first as a clerk then as an accountant.
"I'm not wealthy at all," he said.
In 1990, Emigh moved to Arkansas and bought some land in Marion County Marion County is the name of seventeen counties in the United States of America, mostly named for General Francis Marion:
He currently works as a free-lance designer and artist, which he's done for years. Emigh has designed buildings, floor plans and advertising. He also designed a bug zapper A bug zapper is a device that attracts and kills insects that are attracted by light. A light source attracts insects to an electrical grid, where they are electrocuted by a high voltage. The name stems from the characteristic zap sound produced when an insect is electrocuted. and a chess game that's played on a globe.
Emigh said if his current casino amendment fails, he'll be back with another one.
"They knock him down, but he keeps getting up again, again and again," Mortin said. "How can you not support somebody like that?"