Arkansas concedes it will never be able to compete with Oklahoma 

Here is a phrase you don't often hear (outside of football, that is).

"We're never going to be able to compete with Oklahoma."

Usually, it's Oklahoma officials and business leaders crying for the state to change the way it does, whatever it is it does, so that we can compete with other states. Hardly a week goes by without some legislator screaming that if we don't give tax breaks, all the good jobs will go elsewhere.

But this time, it's our neighborly folks to the east who are complaining Oklahoma is just too good for them. Some angry people in Arkansas think the way Oklahoma conducts a particular form of business is too tough to compete with.

And what could that business possibly be? Why, gambling of course. Shocked, shocked, you say.

Operators of Arkansas bingo halls want the state to eliminate the one-cent tax imposed on each bingo card sold, along with other regulations. According to a story in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, most of the shouting is coming from veterans groups in the Fort Smith area, which straddles the Oklahoma-Arkansas border.

"The once proud American fighting men from America's finest generation who were not defeated at Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima or Normandy, in the twilight of their lives they stand defeated by legislation," said Gene McVay of Fort Smith, a member of the Arkansas American Legion.

The groups argued the bingo card, apparently mightier than the Third Reich, is keeping funds from widows of veterans, scholarships and baseball leagues for children. The problem is Arkansas voters overwhelming approved of the bingo cards, with the one-cent tax, back in 2006.

The tide is finally turning. After losing teachers to Texas and tourism dollars to Arkansas, Oklahoma has gained the upper hand on one of the Bible Belt's favorite pastimes " gambling.


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