The Quapaw Nation of Indians is hoping to boost the local economy with the $350-million Saracen Casino Resort.
Quapaw’s Saracen Annex Opens Doors
Following an approval by the Arkansas Racing Commission, the Quapaw Nation’s Saracen Casino Apex opened doors, four days ahead of the original schedule, and for months now, the property has been raking in solid rofit. Some $55 million in total revenue was generated in October and November, 2019, estimated $1.2 million out of which went to the state.
The property is located in Jefferson County and it spawns on 15,000 square feet. With weather conditions clearing, construction of the Saracean Casino Resort is picking up.
The annex has created 400 construction jobs as well as 200 job openings. Furthermore, the annex features 300 slot machines and a bar, which remains open 24 hours a day. With the annex fully operating, work on the Saracen Casino and Resort continues.
Some $350 million have been dedicated to the development of the project. Overall, the gaming spaces will sprawl on some 80,000 square feet, with 2,300 slot machines in total. Furthermore, there will be 50 table games to enjoy.
To welcome guests, the resort will rely on a 13-story resort hotel with 300 rooms and various venues and guest facilities, including restaurants, lunges, meeting spaces. On site, the resort will have emergency medical and fire emergency personnel.
Quapaw Nation Chairman John Berry has been pleased with the progress made on the project and the windfall for Arkansas. He spoke of the connection between the Quapaw Nation and the region which the tribe once called home.
“Our presence here is a homecoming, so it’s important to us that the City of Pine Bluff and Jefferson County thrive.”
Boosting the Local Economy
Mr. Berry and the Quapaw Nation are dedicated to investing in employment benefits for people from the region and boosting household income. Ultimately, the Quapaw Nation wants to grow the local economy, Mr. Berry added.
Once the resort is fully operational by June 26, 2020, the venue should host as many as 1,000 permanent employees. The company hopes to draw people from across the entirety of Arkansas as well as neighboring states. Mr. Berry further hopes that the company can beat the anticipated deadline:
We’re doing everything we can to beat that date and I anticipate we will. But, until we get a little further down the road we won’t have a good feel for it.
Overall, Jefferson County can use the economic windfall that the resort would bring. As of 2018, the poverty rate in the county was 22.2% compared to 17.2% statewide. Similarly, the median income was below the state’s average of $44,726, and at just $38,289.
Unemployment rate in Jefferson County also cut above the state’s average with 4.9% in the county compared to 3.5% across the state.
Chris Roper, Director of Construction at Quapaw Nation confirmed, that the project was progressing on schedule. Yet, weather conditions have posed various challenges, he admitted. Rains have been a major issue for construction work, but Mr. Roper expects the roof to be covered by early February, allowing the construction crews to pick up pace quickly.