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.
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!