Gulfside Announces Five Partners for River Valley Casino Resort Project in Pope, Arkansas

Arkansas Flag

Gulfside Casino Partnership announced that it would be working with five Arkansas companies on its proposed River Valley Casino Resort Project in Pope County, Arkansas.

According to Gulfside, iCurtis H. Stout, Inc., Middleton Heating & Air, Stephens Insurance, Westrock Coffee, and Russellville-based Barrett & Associates will work hand-in-hand with them for the completion of the $254M project.

Gulfside currently operates the Island View Casino Resort in Gulfport, Mississippi.

River Valley Casino Resort Project

The River Valley Casino Resort Project in Pope County will have 500 hotel rooms, 80,000 square feet of gaming area, as well as numerous dining options, and an outdoor entertainment venue. According to Gulfside’s proposal, it will create 1,500 permanent jobs in the region, contribute $60.5M of annual payroll, and generate $29.5M in state revenue.

Last month, Gulfside named Arkansas-based Nabholz Corp. and AnderCorp of Mississippi to oversee the construction of the River Valley Casino Resort. Nabholz is a multi-service contractor with locations in six states other than Arkansas. Meanwhile, AnderCorp has experience with constructing more than 20 gaming and hospitality projects.

Pope License Challenged by the Cherokees

Gulfside and the Cherokee Nation are the only two applicants in the running for the Pope County license since voters passed Amendment 100 in 2018. The Amendment authorized the expansion of gambling operations at race tracks in Hot Springs and West Memphis to full-casino functions. It also allowed the Racing Commission to issue one casino license each in Jefferson and Pope counties.

Initially, Gulfside’s application was denied by the Racing Commission because its letter of support was signed by County Judge Jim Ed Gibson just days before his term ended on December 31, 2018. However, Gulfside made an appeal at the Pulaski County Circuit Court and Judge Tim Fox ruled in its favor. Last year, the Racing Commission awarded the license to Gulfside although the Cherokee have challenged the license in a case pending before the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Gaming Revenue in Arkansas Finally Starts to Increase

The state of Arkansas is home to just three casinos. Over the past few months, these properties have seen their gambling earnings drop dramatically. Fortunately, it appears that gaming revenue in Arkansas is finally starting to increase.Arkansas State Sign

Like all other states, Arkansas has a casino industry that is struggling. It will likely be years before things go back to pre-pandemic levels. Today, we’re going to take a look at exactly how much money the state’s different gambling platforms managed to bring in.

Let’s get into it!

Arkansas’ Casino Industry Was Given Permission to Reopen in May

It’s been a very unusual year for the US land-based casino industry. Each state has set its own regulations towards casino properties. Over in Arkansas, these regulations were fairly strict and all casinos were closed here for months.

Lawmakers in Arkansas ordered casinos to shut their doors back in March. The three gambling venues here immediately ceased all operations and even state officials were unaware of when these properties would open again. It wasn’t until mid-May that permission was given for casinos here to open back up.

Obviously, these regulations crippled the state’s gambling industry. That includes the new sports betting market here. As many are aware, Arkansas passed a law to allow sports betting back in July of 2019.

Unfortunately, online sports betting is not allowed in Arkansas. Most states with legal sports betting options offer internet wagering platforms. This has helped these states to bring in some valuable revenue over the past few months.

Over in Arkansas, only in-person sports betting is regulated by the state. Many now feel it’s time for the state to change these regulations. It would almost certainly result in a major revenue increase each month.

Casinos have been open here months. Things aren’t great, yet they finally seem to be improving.

Analysts Predict that Gaming Revenue in Arkansas Will Continue to Increase

Almost every state around the country has seen its casino revenue decrease this year. In some states, this has proven to be devastating. Arkansas isn’t known as a major gambling destination, yet it’s still lost an estimated $1.4 billion in gambling revenue in 2020.

The casino companies here are feeling the effects of this drop. Revenue has remained low since July and no one seems to know if things will ever return to normal. Analysts are now looking at the figures over the past two months and reports show that the state is beginning to see an upward trend.

Most of the casinos in Arkansas are still only operating about half of their gambling machines. Interestingly, revenue from these casinos has increased each month since reopening. The amount of money earned at the Hot Springs Casino, for example, increased to $104 million in June and $120 million in July.

Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort is seeing a modest increase, too. General Manager Wayne Smith expressed his excitement with this development to the media this week.

“We are pleased with where our business volumes are today given we are in the middle of a pandemic,” he said. “We are proud to maintain the highest standards of cleanliness and believe we are one of the safest businesses to visit.”

Southland Casino Racing is seeing the biggest monthly increase. This property earned $92 million in mid-May, $200 million in June, and $242 million in July. It’s clear that gaming revenue in Arkansas is increasing and most analysts predict this will continue for the rest of 2020.

New Jersey Sets New Sports Betting Revenue Record

Nearly all states are now allowing their casino industries to reopen. Some are finding more success than others. It’s now clear that the states with regulated online gambling options are profiting the most.

New Jersey took its time getting its casino industry back on track. It wasn’t until July that gambling venues here were allowed to begin operating again. Tourism rates were slow to increase here and land-based casino revenue remained fairly low.

Sports betting revenue, however, has been surging in this state. Here, online sports betting is regulated and hugely popular. News has just surfaced that New Jersey earned $668 million from its sports gambling industry in the month of August.

That’s the most sports betting revenue ever earned from a US state during a single month. Casino companies here are profiting massively from this surge. More states without a regulated online sports betting industry are now taking a closer look at their regulations.

That includes Arkansas. It’s now clear that gaming revenue in Arkansas is increasing each month. The introduction of online sports gambling will help the state to make up for much of the money that was lost throughout 2020.

Are you surprised to see casino earnings finally increase? Let us know in the comments section below!

Arkansas Casinos to Reopen May 18 Under Multiple Safety Guidelines

Arkansas State LogoAt a press conference held last Thursday, May 7, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced that the state’s three casinos will be able to reopen on May 18 at one-third of their total capacity, with stringent social distancing requirements.

The Arkansas Department of Health was said to have released the exact guidelines for the casinos reopening last Friday, but will likely be released this week ahead of the casinos reopening.

Casino executives seemed excited by the news, which came earlier than many expected in the state. Arkansas’ three casinos which will be able to reopen next Monday are Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs, Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis, and Saracen Casino Annex in Pine Bluff.

Reduced Capacity, Cleaning And Safety Guidelines

Visitors to Arkansas’ three casinos post-shutdown can expect cleaning to happen all throughout the day on the gaming floor. This is to ensure that the properties are kept as safe and sanitized as possible, which will allow guests and staff to have greater peace of mind when they’re on-site.

Carlton Saffa, Project Manager for Saracen Casino Annex, provided some insight into the depth of how sanitation will be handled at the property. Saffa says that when gamblers get up from sitting at or using a particular machine, that a staff member will be there shortly to clean up the area behind them, including the seat and machine surfaces.

Saracen will also have reduced operating hours upon reopening, to allow for more thorough cleaning to take place.

All casinos will have to operate at one-third of the rated capacity of their respective buildings. Saffa says that if Saracen reached that capacity, that “folks will have to wait to come in.”

As far as safety guidelines go, the casinos will likely enforce face coverings for staff members, temperature checks for workers, social distancing guidelines, and plexiglass barriers on the gaming floor.

Some Arkansas Residents Feel It’s Too Soon to Reopen Casinos

While casino executives are eager to get business rolling again, some Arkansas residents, and even some government officials, feel the reopening date is coming too soon and may come at a cost.

West Memphis Mayor Marco McClendon for one, would prefer to wait to reopen the city until June 1.

Arkansas Department of Health Secretary Nate Smith expressed his concerns over casinos opening last month, saying that particularly high-risk since they’re indoors with a significant amount of people in small space, and touching different surfaces.

“I think it’s going to spread around and we’re going to have more outbreaks and it’s just going to be more of a worst-case scenario. We’re just asking for it,” said Jeffrey Wilburn, a resident of West Memphis, Arkansas.

As of Sunday, Arkansas has 4,012 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with around 91 related deaths.

How Arkansas Has Been Affected by COVID-19

According to Gov. Hutchinson, the COVID-19 outbreak has affected “every industry sector” in Arkansas, from grocery stores and small businesses to hospitals and restaurants. Hutchinson stressed the importance of supporting and protecting each industry until the threat of the virus is gone.

State to Reopen Large Venues on May 18, Too

As well as reopening casinos, Gov. Hutchinson announced that large venue areas, such as arenas, stadiums, moving theaters, and bowling alleys, will also be allowed to reopen on May 18, however facilities must not allow more than 50 people to be inside at once.

Stay Tuned

Arkansas seems to be one of the first states to have a definitive reopening date for its casinos. Do you think it’s the right time to reopen? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, and be sure to check back for more coronavirus casino coverage.

Gambling Revenue in Arkansas Surpasses Expectations

Arkansas has a large and successful gambling industry. Soon, the state’s casino and sports betting market may grow. New reports indicate that gambling revenue in Arkansas surged more than most analysts initially predicted.Arkansas

That’s fantastic, and slightly unexpected news. Today, we’re going to talk about how much revenue was made from the gambling industry here. We’ll also check out how the state’s gambling industry may expand.

Additional Casinos Set to Open in Arkansas in 2020

Some are unaware that Arkansas has a large and profitable gaming industry. Perhaps this is because it wasn’t always the case. Throughout much of the 20th century, lawmakers in this state worked to ban most traditional forms of gambling.

Eventually, state politicians began allowing Class II casinos here. These gambling venues were only legally allowed to provide electronic gaming machines. In 2018, officials approved amendment four, which finally allowed Class III gambling venues to begin operating. In 2019, a law was passed to allow sports betting in the state.

Today, there are three different casinos operating in Arkansas. Two of them are racinos, which offer both horse race wagering and casino games. Recently, several tribes in the state began pushing to open gambling venues in Arkansas.

The Quapaw Nation has worked to open a new Arkansas casino for years. Plans for a massive 500,000 square foot casino have finally been approved. Reports indicate this venue will open to the public in June of 2020.

More tribes here are also working to obtain a casino license in this state. Revenue from casinos here continues to grow. Here’s how much these venues brought in last month.

Gambling Revenue in Arkansas Surpassed Expectations in February

Ever since Class III casinos were approved in Arkansas, gambling revenue has surged here. It’s fluctuated before, yet has generally increased for the past two years. Reports from the State Department of Finance and Administration just released new revenue figures and things are looking great.

New reports claim that tax revenue from casinos here came out to $2.8 million in February. That’s about $300,000 more than analysts predicted. Most felt that the coronavirus would significantly hurt the state’s gaming market.

Officials in the state expect to earn $31.2 million from the gambling industry. That’s considerably less than the $69.7 million brought in last year. Much of the reason for this decrease is the state’s new gambling tax structure.

As more casinos open here, revenue is likely to increase. Money earned from the gambling industry will help to find new highways and roads in the state.

Lawmakers are looking for new ways to generate revenue from this industry. Unfortunately, the coronavirus may end up significantly lowering the amount of money the state makes from legal gambling.

Coronavirus Expected to Lower US Gambling Revenue

Over the past few weeks, cases of the coronavirus in the United States have skyrocketed. More than 100 individuals have already been infected and more than ten have died. Many believe the actual number of people infected with the coronavirus is far higher.

This is showing no signs of slowing down, too. Health officials believe this will continue to spread around the country. Containment efforts have proved extremely difficult.

The coronavirus will certainly take a toll on the US gambling industry. Many will not be willing to visit a crowded casino if there’s a chance for infection. For this reason, gambling revenue projections in Arkansas have fallen dramatically.

Many also worry about the impact this virus will have on Las Vegas. This city relies heavily on its gambling industry. If no one is visiting the casinos here, the local economy will suffer significantly. State officials are already gearing up for a possible coronavirus outbreak.

Gambling revenue in Arkansas may drop as this virus spreads. Last month, however, things went better than expected.

Stay tuned for more US casino news over the next few months!

Cherokee Nation Reveals Study on New Russellville Casino

Arkansas’ casino industry is growing rapidly. Since 2018, Class III gambling venues have been able to operate here. The state’s Native American tribes have been preparing to open new casinos in the state ever since. This week, the Cherokee Nation revealed a new study that shows how much revenue the new Russellville casino will generate.Arkansas

It’s a great time to be a casino fan in Arkansas. Several new gaming venues are scheduled to open here over the next few years. Today, we’re going to look at how much money a casino-resort in Russellville could generate.

Let’s get into it!

Arkansas Finally Expands Its Gambling Industry

Arkansas hasn’t always been a gambling hub. In fact, most traditional forms of gambling were banned here until fairly recently. Finally, in 2018, lawmakers in this state decided it was time to make a change.

A bill was passed that year that allows four Class III casinos to open in the state. These venues will be operated by Native American tribes. Not long after this bill was passed, tribes began coming up with casino plans.

Arkansas also now allows sports betting. In July of 2019, the first legal sports wager was placed here.

There are now several popular gaming venues in this state. One that’s beginning to generate serious revenue is the Southland Casino. Recently, this casino began offering its first sports betting options just in time for the Super Bowl.

More casinos are scheduled to open here over the next few years. The Cherokee Nation has worked hard to have plans for a new Russellville casino approved. This week, the tribe released information about how much revenue this new casino could generate for the state.

The New Russellville Casino Will Generate Billions

Arkansas is shaping up to be a major new casino market. All of the casinos that open here are likely to be successful. According to the Cherokee Nation, the new Russellville casino will be a serious revenue generator.

The tribe released a study that indicates this casino will generate billions of dollars. An economic impact of more than $3 billion is expected over the first 10 years of operating. This study was made by the Economic Impact Group, which used information from six different counties to form these statistics.

Chuck Garrett, CEO of Cherokee Nation Businesses, commented on the report to the media this week.

“In forming our plans for Legends Resort & Casino, we turned to a network of experts to help us understand how this project would impact the region’s economy,” he said. “It was fitting for us to engage this research through Dr. Russell Evans and EIG who are already very familiar with current CNB operations.”

The study also claims that more than 1,700 jobs will become available once the casino is up and running. Lawmakers are likely to see these figures and should give the green light to begin construction within a couple of months.

Casinos Already Generate Millions in Tax Money for Arkansas

Most analysts predicted that Arkansas would become a hot casino market. These predictions seem to be correct. Since casinos began opening here, revenue from this industry has been skyrocketing.

In October of 2019, a revenue record was set. Casinos in the state brought in an incredible $554.4 million. That beat the state’s forecast by $36.8 million. With sports betting now up and running, revenue earnings are increasing even more.

The new Russellville casino will be a major revenue generator for the state, as well. If the estimates are correct, it will bring in billions to the state within a decade.

As of now, only four casinos are allowed to open here. That may change in the future. As time goes now, state officials may decide to allow more gambling venues to start operating.

We’ll need to wait for the state to approve the Cherokee Nation’s new gaming venue. Stay tuned for updates over the next few months!

More Casinos in Arkansas Set to Open in 2020

Arkansas’ casino industry has been undergoing some major changes. Several Native American tribes in the state have been pushing to open new gambling venues here. More casinos in Arkansas are now set to open in 2020.Arkansas

The state is dealing with several issues right now. One area, in particular, has been at the center of debate between two different tribes that believe they should be granted a gambling license. Today, we’re going to look at what exactly is happening in Arkansas right now.

Let’s get into it!

Arkansas’ Gambling Industry is Growing

Arkansas isn’t typically thought of as the gambling hub of the United States. To date, only a few gambling venues have opened up here. The state does not allow privately-run casinos to operate here, meaning only Native American tribes have permission to run these venues.

Recently, however, many individuals have looked at Arkansas as a hot casino market. There are several neighboring states that currently ban this form of wagering. That means that many individuals in these states may make the trip to Arkansas in order to gamble.

Some of the Native American tribes in Arkansas realize this, as well. Over the past few months, many of these tribes have begun pushing to open more casinos in Arkansas. In Pope County, a debate is raging over which tribe should be granted a casino to operate a casino here.

It’s an interesting time to be a gambling fan in this state. Never before have so many tribes pushed to operate gambling venues here.

Construction is currently taking place on one major new gambling venue in the state. This week, we were given an update on when this casino will open.

Quapaw Nation Casino Set to Open in June of 2020

In April, lawmakers in Arkansas passed a law that greatly expanded the number of gambling options casinos in the state could offer. This breathed new life into Arkansas’ casino industry. Before long, many tribes here began requesting permission to construct entirely new casinos.

Earlier this year, the Quapaw Nation was given permission to open one of these venues. For the past few months, construction of this new gambling venue has been taking place. According to new reports, it’s set to open in June of 2020.

A massive crew of workers has been pushing to get this 500,000 square-foot casino-resort opened by the proposed date. Once it’s completed, the casino will feature more than 2,000 slot machines, 50 table games and several exciting amenities including a spa, theater, and several restaurants.

Allen Dixon, a construction supervisor on the project, commented on what’s taking place to the media this week.

“We’re doing the mechanical piping underground for the chillers, and we need to be out of the way for a crew to come in and pour concrete on the 30th,” he said. 

It’s exciting news. When this venue finally opens, it will become the biggest and best gambling establishment in the state.

Debate Around Pope County Casino License Continues

As we’ve already mentioned, many of Arkansas’ tribes are working to obtain a casino license. For months, two major tribes have been seeking to obtain a casino license in Pope County. This is in the north-west area of the state.

Both the Cherokee and the Choctaw tribes are seeking to obtain a casino license in this area. It’s obviously important, as it’s the last commercial casino set to open in the state. The Choctaw Tribe commented on the licensing application to the media this week.

“The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma has consistently advocated for a fair, open and transparent process,” he said. We hope that the state will take action to allow all proposals to receive fair consideration.”

On January 6th, the Arkansas Racing Commission will decide on which tribe to offer the license to. Hopefully, more casinos in Arkansas will open next year.

Stay tuned for more Arkansas casino news over the next few weeks!

Arkansas’ Gambling Industry is Surging Right Now

Arkansas FlagArkansas just recently began legalizing and regulating casino gambling. According to new reports, the casinos operating here are a major success. Arkansas’ gambling industry is surging right now and many companies are attempting to break into the market.

It’s great news for the state government, which is earning millions of dollars through taxes. Today, we’re going to look at the history of Arkansas’ gambling industry and talk about how much it’s grown.

Let’s get into it!

The Road to Casino Legalization in Arkansas

For decades, Arkansas took a hardline stance on the gambling industry. No casinos were allowed to operate here and those caught gambling were subject to harsh penalties. In November of 2018, this all changed.

That month, voters here approved Issue 4, a constitutional amendment that allows for four casinos to open in the state. It was a surprise for many, as voters here had previously worked hard to keep legal gambling options away. Certain lawmakers attempted to challenge Issue 4 court yet ultimately the amendment was made.

Before long, casino companies began pushing operating here. There are now three casinos in the state. Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs, Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluffs, and Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis. They quickly grew popular with locals and tourists.

The Saracen Casino Resort has just recently begun operating. Before opening to the public, this casino flirted with the idea of banning smoking. Ultimately, this idea was scrapped.

As we’ve already mentioned, several companies have expressed an interest in opening a gambling venue in this state. It’s clear that people see the potential in Arkansas’ gambling market.

Arkansas’ Gambling Industry Continues to Grow

The casinos currently operating in Arkansas are generating serious revenue right now. It’s likely that many more gambling venues will begin operating here over the next few years. Earlier this month, one of the biggest Native American tribes in Oklahoma began pushing to open a casino in this state.

New reports indicate that the Oklahoma-based Cherokee Nation has officially filed an application to begin operating a casino in Arkansas. If all goes to plan, this venue will open in either Russellville or Dover.

The state’s gambling commission will now review this application. In the past, several cities have seen their applications to open a casino rejected. It’s unclear whether or not Arkansas will allow a tribe from another state to start operating a casino here.

Arkansas’ gambling industry broke records in October. That month, casinos generated an impressive $554.4 million. John Shelnutt, the state’s chief economic forecaster John Shelnutt, the state’s chief economic forecaster, claims that October’s revenue report shows “very good growth across all the sectors. We’ll just have to see if it continues at this rate,” he said.

Sports Betting in Arkansas is Also Generating Serious Revenue

Arkansas’ gambling industry is one of the most unique in the country. Just a few years ago, almost no forms of gambling were allowed here. Now, both casino gambling and sports betting are available in the state.

Lawmakers here approved a sports betting bill in mid-2019. In July, the first legal sports wager was placed here inside the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort.

Unfortunately, mobile sports betting is not allowed here. Bets must be placed in-person at a licensed casino.

Revenue from the state’s sports betting industry has been increasing steadily over the past few months. Arkansas is one of just a few states that does not release its exact sports gambling revenue figures. Based on numerous reports, however, it’s increasing significantly.

Arkansas’ gambling industry is one of the newest in the country. Amazingly, it’s already growing bigger than some others that have been around for years.

Stay tuned for more US casino news over the next few months!

Saracen Hotel-Casino Holds “Soft Opening” to the Public

For months, casino gambling fans in Arkansas have awaited the opening of the Saracen Hotel-Casino, located in Pine Bluffs. Initially, the casino’s owners claimed the new gambling venue would open on October 1st. These owners changed things up and held a “soft opening” to the public on Friday evening.

Saracen Casino Logo

That’s right! Arkansas’ newest casino opened up last night. Let’s take a quick look at the road to get this casino built, and why its owners have decided to open it early.

What We Know About the Saracen Casino

For many years, lawmakers in Arkansas set strict laws on the gambling industry. Most forms of traditional gambling were banned here, including casinos. Last year, however, politicians in Arkansas passed a new bill that allows brick and mortar casinos to operate.

This bill allows for four new casinos to open in the state. The Quapaw Native American Tribe quickly secured one of the casino licenses being handed out by the state. The tribe named this casino the Saracen Hotel-Casino after the Quapaw Chief, Saracen.

Officials took their time opening this new venue. Pine Bluff city council members even tried to ban smoking in this casino. Eventually, this proposal was shot down.

For months, this new casino in Pine Bluffs has been under construction. Tribe officials revealed that it will feature an 80,000 square foot casino floor, a 13-floor hotel, and several restaurants. According to the Quapaw Tribe, it will be the best gambling establishment in the state.

It’s exciting news for gambling fans in Arkansas. For months, the casino’s opening date was scheduled for October 1st. Yesterday, to the surprise of many, it was opened to the public, who had the opportunity to see for themselves what’s available here.

Saracen Hotel-Casino “Soft-Opened” On Friday Night

It seems like the Quapaw Tribe can’t hold in their excitement with this new gambling venue. Yesterday, the tribe held a “soft opening” to the public. It ran from 6 pm to 11 pm. Visitors had access to all of the casino’s gambling options and a full-service bar.

Carlton Saffa, project manager of the Saracen Hotel-Casino, believes that the casino is ready to officially start operating.

“The Quapaw came from Pine Bluff; the Quapaw have returned to Pine Bluff and there’s an obligation to take care of their original homeland,” he said. “Three months ago, the site we are standing on was an open field, and here we are today with a full-fledged casino, that’s essentially ready to go.”

From what we’ve seen, the soft opening was a major success. Visitors had the opportunity to see everything that this new casino has to offer. Many now believe that it will grow to become the most popular gambling venue in Arkansas.

Sports Betting Could Soon Become Available at the Saracen Casino

Today, 19 states have officially legalized sports gambling. Arkansas lawmakers approved a sports betting bill earlier this year and have begun allowing casinos to offer sports gambling options.

Hope is that this casino can soon begin offering sports betting. Back in July, the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort officially offered the first legal sports wagers in the state. The Quapaw tribe believes that the Saracen Casino will be granted a license to offer sports wagering odds very soon.

Unfortunately, online sports wagering is still prohibited in Arkansas. Only licensed land-based casinos are eligible to host sportsbooks. Some believe that in time, the state government will choose to legalize online and mobile wagering after seeing the revenue potential.

The Saracen Hotel-Casino represents a major upgrade to Arkansas’ casino industry. There are a huge number of different gambling options and soon, a sports betting platform. The official grand opening of this casino will take place on October 1st at 11 am.

Make sure to stay tuned for more Arkansas casino news over the next few months!

Arkansas’ Saracen Casino Resort Considers Banning Smoking

A casino current being constructed in Arkansas may be hit with a major new regulation. Members of the Pine Bluff City Council are considering adding the Saracen Casino Resort to a city ordinance to make smoke-free workplaces. If approved, this casino will become a non-smoking gaming establishment.

Arkansas State Sign

It’s interesting news for this casino. Today, we’re going to look at the current set of land-based and online gambling laws in this state. We’ll also talk about why lawmakers here are considering the smoking ban. Let’s get started!

Gambling Laws in Arkansas, Explained

Arkansas has evolved to have some of the most liberal gambling laws in the south. This wasn’t always the case, though. Up until very recently, this state only allowed electronic gaming machines for blackjack, poker, etc… In 2018, lawmakers in this state changed things up.

Last year, a bill was passed to allow all forms of traditional casino gambling. This bill allows for four new casinos to open here. Several ‘racinos’ are already available in Arkansas and a few traditional casinos will open here in the next few years.

Casino gambling has proved very successful for the state. Many local residents flock to these gambling establishments every month. There are also a huge number of great AR casino sites that many residents here love to play at.

Arkansas has not yet taken the steps to regulate its online gambling market. Fortunately, many casino websites based in other countries operate in this state, most of which offer a wide range of amazing games and safe payment options.

Like most states, Arkansas allows smoking inside casinos. This may soon be changing. Lawmakers in the city of Pine Bluff are debating whether or not to ban smoking inside the Saracen Casino Resort.

Should the Saracen Casino Resort Become Smoke-Free?

As we already mentioned, lawmakers in Arkansas approved adding new casinos to the state last year. In early August, the Quapaw Tribe began construction on a new $350 million casino resort in Pine Bluff. The Saracen Casino Resort is expected to become one of the most popular gaming venues in the state.

Interestingly, members of the Pine Bluff city council are considering adding a new restriction to this casino. During the recent 2019 legislative session, this city agreed to ban smoking in workplaces. Now, lawmakers are trying to decide whether or not this should apply to casinos, as well.

The Public Health and Welfare Committee of the City Council was split on the issue. Members of this group agreed to send the issue to the full City Council. Katherine Donald, executive director of the Arkansas Coalition for a Smoke-Free Arkansas, supports the measure to ban smoking at the Saracen Casino Resort.

“Our mission is very simple,” Donald said to the media. “We work throughout the state of Arkansas helping to inform policy, information, and other efforts that will protect the health of Arkansans.”

Officials at the casino itself are pushing against this measure. Carlton Saffa, an official here, claims that banning smoking will significantly reduce the revenue that the casino brings in. He cites the 20% decrease in casino revenue that Illinois experienced after banning smoking inside casinos.

Officials Torn on Smoking Ban in Pine Bluff Casino

It’s clear that this is a debate that will go on for some time. Health advocates in the state believe that banning smoking at the Saracen Casino Resort will benefit the state’s residents. The casino operators are obviously are concerned with their earnings.

Saffa claims that part of the $350 million budget for the casino is to build a $2-3 million state of the art air filtration in the casino. This air system will maintain air quality by recirculating the air every 10 minutes.

We’ll need to wait and see what the City Council decides over the next few weeks.

Arkansas’ casino industry is set to grow exponentially over the next few years. Hopefully, the three new casinos coming to this state will help to bring in valuable revenue. Many states including Illinois, are also beginning to expand their casino industries. It’s a great time for gambling fans around the country!

Stay tuned for updates more news on the Saracen Casino Resort!