State voters rejected a similar proposal in 2002 that would have allowed racetracks to have gaming machines. Instead, voters allowed a different plan that gave the state’s Tribes exclusive rights to operate Arizona casinos in exchange for a percentage of the operating profits.

Carl Nicholson, the initiative organizer, said he has already been promised financial backing for the plan from what he said are some of the major gaming players in Nevada, however he wouldn’t share any names.

Nicholson said that if the plan is approved, those who put up the cash would have the first opportunity to get the required state licenses, giving good reason to invest.

Nicholson said the measure would not permit anyone to open a casino anywhere they pleased. He said cities would not have the ability to reject casinos being built, but also said that communities would not want to, as they would share in the revenues.

In order to have the issue put before voters next November, Nicholson needs 172,809 valid signatures on petitions by July 5.

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