One of the hottest games on the midway at the Tontitown Grape Festival was a game of darts, colors, and cash. Dollars were placed on a board, a dart was thrown, and money was paid to the winning colors. Teens and adults alike shared in the fun of the game, anticipating a return on their gamble.
Matthew Garrison, 16, said, "I went over there and put a 20 down, cause I was down, and I won 40."
Garrison said the rules of the game were simple: "You pick a color and if it hits black, it triples, if it hits one of the colors it doubles."
But the basis of this carnival contest caused plenty of concern.
Lieutenant John Moore from the Washington County Sheriff's Office said, "I felt that it was gambling."
Lt. Moore made the call to close the game: "They were shut down completely and will not open back up, it will not be open until Arkansas law changes on that. They can not ever open back up that game here."
A decision Washington County Prosecuting Attorney John Threet said he fully supported: "They can't allow people to be putting down money to win money, and so by the Sheriff's Office Shutting it down, it was illegal, it was in their presence, so the Sheriff's Office did the correct thing."
"You put that money down in the hopes of winning money, that, in and of itself, is illegal," Threet added.
Representatives for the Grape Festival declined to comment on the story.
Gambling is legal in Arkansas at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, and Southland Park in West Memphis. The state also has a scholarship lottery system.