New-Look Southland Casino Ready by the the End of April

Southland Casino Racing Outside View
Guests will be able to enjoy the new and improved Southland Casino at the end of this month.

According to West Memphis Mayor Marco McClendon, the renovated casino will be up and running by the end of this month while the first seven floors of the hotel will open in June. Mclendon made the statement last Friday when he and other city leaders toured the renovated Southland Hotel to see the progress on the improvements made to the casino and hotel.

The West Memphis mayor said that once the work is complete, it will be something that the mid-South will be very proud of. Said McClendon:

“This is truly gong to be a game changer. I’ve been saying this is going to be a game changer for West Memphis but now I’m going to start saying this is going to be a game changer for our region.”

Tallest Building in Arkansas

In total, the 113,000 square foot expanded casino will have 2,400 slot machines and 60 table games. It will also house a total of six new restaurants, two bars, and a VIP lounge. Outside the gaming complex will be a 1,250 space parking garage which will be connected to a 300-room hotel which includes 84 luxury suites.

According to Southland GM David Wolf, the hotel will be the tallest building in Arkansas, outside of Little Rock. The expansion will add around 400 to 500 new jobs, bringing Southland’s workforce up to 1,400 to 1,500 and making it the largest employer in Crittenden County.

The company has already began hiring positions for the casino and food service business: chefs, hosts, baristas, servers, managers, bartenders, dealers, slot tech, and security among others.

Greyhound Racing to be Phased out in December

Southland has been popular for its greyhound racing over the past 60 years but it will be phased out this December following the 2019 agreement between Southland Casino and the Arkansas Greyhound Kennel Association.

Under the agreement, Southland reduced the number of greyhound races from 6,656 in 2019, 4,992 in 2020, down to 3,994 in 2021, and 2,662 in 2022, with the final race to be held in December 22.

The gradual phase-out was implemented to allow time for the adoption of the 1,200 greyhounds that raced in Southland. The Mid-South Greyhound Adoption Option will work to bring the retired racing greyhounds into new homes.

Southland Casino in West Memphis Unveils New Casino Floor

Southland Casino Racing Outside View
Construction continues at the Southland Casino in West Memphis, Arkansas and last Friday, the company’s top management held a tour of the casino’s brand new red carpeted gaming floor which is expected to bring more patrons.

The upgraded casino is expected to be completed by April after the expansion was delayed by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Increasing the Casino’s Gaming Floor

The $300 million expansion will increase the casino’s existing gaming floor to 113,000 square feet or more than two football fields. It will also expand the gaming center’s totals to 2,400 slot machines, more table games, six brand new restaurants, and four bars.

Aside from th new casino amenities, Southland’s expansion also includes a 300-room hotel stretching skyward at the Southland Complex. The 20-story hotel will have a total of 80 suites including presidential suites. Also under construction is a multi-level parking building that can accommodate 1,250 vehicles.

This marks the third upgrade for the casino. In 2012, Southland added a new bar that cost $11 million. Two years later, it opened more rooms for slot machines and launched the Sammy Hagar’s Red Rocker Bar and Grill in a $39 million expansion.

More Jobs for West Memphis

With the expansion comes more jobs for West Memphis. As Mayor Marco Mclendon said last month in an interview with FOX 13, “they grow, we grow” as he estimated more than 400 new hires for new positions that will be created as a result of the casino’s expansion.

To fill those new positions, Southland has held a pair of hiring events- one at the FedEx Forum at Beale St. last January 26th and another at the Southland Kennel Club last February 2nd. Weekly job fairs are currently being held through March 9th while a job fair party on March 5th.

Aside from the jobs it will create, Mclendon says that every dollar spent in the renovation will generate welcomed tax dollars for the City of West Memphis. Southland Casino is upping the ante on its hiring by offering $2,000 hiring bonuses and a rate of $15/hour.