Despite Name, Arkansas Casino Corp. Operator Closely Tied to Texas, Idaho

by Michael Whiteley and Mark Friedman  on Monday, Mar. 31, 2014 12:00 am  

Buchholz responded with a lawsuit in Pulaski County Chancery Court in August, accusing state regulators of harassment and delaying tactics. He asked the court to force Dodson to OK the issuance of stock for the gaming company.

Dodson has countersued, seeking an accounting of the stock he says was illegally sold and fines totaling $250,000 plus the money the casino company raised from the sales.

Buchholz denied all of the allegations and claimed Dodson is carrying forward a directive from Huckabee to keep gambling out of Arkansas. He said neither he nor Harris have ties to the established gaming industry and calls his venture into Arkansas Casino Corp. “an accidental investment.”

A check of financial records, corporate filings and court records in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas — the three states where Buchholz is licensed to practice law — and in the five states where NSR and its sister companies have done business show no past ties to casino operations.

Buchholz, who lost two Dallas judicial elections in the early 1990s, has since turned from practicing criminal law to handling personal injury and other civil cases. Notable among them was a 1998 environmental suit he settled on behalf of 600 people who claimed they suffered from toxic emissions emitted by Gibraltar Chemical Resources in Winona, Texas.

Buchholz concedes the jury on casino gambling is still out.

“I certainly don’t have the resources to run the campaign,” he said. “My obligation ended when I got the certificate with the gold seal from the Secretary of State.”

Since Then ...

2014: Although 70,000 Arkansans signed Arkansas Casino Corp.’s petition to get it on the 2000 general election ballot, voters rejected the measure by nearly a 2-1 margin. The backers of Arkansas Casino Corp. didn’t help the campaign when they were charged with felony securities fraud just before the election. James C. Harris, former chairman of Arkansas Casino Corp., was charged with three felonies. He pleaded guilty in May 2001 to a misdemeanor count of selling unregistered securities in 1997. He was fined $100, and the other two felony charges were dropped. Robert W. Buchholz, a Dallas attorney, who was also an officer in the company, faced three felony charges of securities fraud, but those charges were dropped in 2001 because of a lack of evidence.

Still, since 2000, Arkansas’ opposition to gambling has waned. In 2005, it became legal to offer “electronic games of skill” at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs and Southland Park in West Memphis. In 2008, voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to allow a lottery specifically to fund college scholarships. The lottery began selling tickets in 2009.

Some people still are pushing to have casinos in the state. In 2010, Texas businessman Michael J. Wasserman wanted to build casinos in Arkansas that his company would control and not be regulated by the state. But his measure didn’t receive enough signatures to place it on the 2010 November election.

 

 

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