Gambling on a Location?

We were puzzled upon receipt of a notice of the Arkansas Society of Association Executives annual convention.

The event will be July 18-20 at Sam's Town Gambling Hall & Casino in Robinsonville, Miss.

This is a group that includes dozens of prominent lobbyists for state associations, marketing executives for resorts and convention centers, and others whose livelihood is dependent on business success in Arkansas. The Hot Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau is even donating a Hot Springs basket as a door prize.

So what's with a convention in Mississippi and the casinos — you know, the archrivals of tourism in Arkansas?

ASAE President Jennifer Coleman says the group normally meets in Arkansas — in fact, she says only two other meetings have been held outside of the state, at Memphis' Peabody Hotel — but this time around, there were no appropriate bids from Arkansas resorts and hotels.

Besides, she says, Sam's Town is a dues-paying member of the ASAE, and a fact like that has to be taken into account.