A groundbreaking celebration for Saracen Casino Resort, a $350 million development by the Quapaw Nation, will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 5, at the construction site at 3512 Market St. in Pine Bluff. Many in Pine Bluff are anticipating not only gambling and entertainment options but also jobs.

Sherry Watkins of Pine Bluff said she is applying for a housekeeping position at the hotel.

“It’s something new for me,” Watkins said. “I am recently divorced, so I need some new income. I heard that they were hiring, so I thought I would go for it.”

Pine Bluff resident Regina King said she wants to apply to be a dealer at one of the gaming tables.

“I hear you can make a lot of money,” King said. “This is a great opportunity for so many in our community.”

The Quapaw people historically lived in eastern and southern Arkansas before they were forcibly relocated to Oklahoma in the 1830s. The casino is named after Chief Saracen, who was a leader of the Quapaw Nation. He died at age 97 in 1832.

The Saracen Casino will be the Quapaw Nation's third casino. The tribe also owns and operates Downstream Casino Resort near the Oklahoma/Missouri line and Quapaw Casino in Miami, Oklahoma. Downstream officially opened its doors on July 5, 2008, and drew more than 37,000 guests its first day.

"This reminds me of how excited and proud we were 12 years ago breaking ground for Downstream, and what that meant for Joplin and the surrounding region," said John L. Berrey, chairman of the Quapaw Nation and of the Downstream Development Authority and Saracen Casino Development, in a statement.

"Saracen Casino will be a lot like Downstream in terms of style, design and luxury, and in what we think it will do for Pine Bluff. But also, building Saracen Casino is a homecoming for the Quapaw people. That's where we lived. It is where the great Chief Saracen is buried. So this is very special for us."

The casino is estimated to create about 1,000 construction jobs and approximately 1,100 permanent jobs once it opens in the spring of 2020. The development will span 570,000 square feet on 110 acres of developed land. More than 2,000 slot machines and 50 table games will be dispersed throughout 80,000 square feet of the gaming floor. An additional 300 machines will be located at the Saracen Annex Q-Store.

The hotel portion will feature 300 rooms, a conference center, entertainment venue, spa, restaurants and lounges, as well as a museum and cultural center. The grounds will also feature amenities such as a health clinic, safety and fire services, and a child learning center and day care.

Pine Bluff resident Jackson Thompson said he has been looking forward to the casino since it was first announced months ago. He said he normally travels to Oaklawn in Hot Springs.

“Now I won’t have to drive far,” Thompson said. “I like the atmosphere of a casino more than anything. It’s fun to people watch, and they usually have good food.”

Commercial Managing Editor John Worthen contributed to this report.

PARKING

Guests attending the groundbreaking event are asked to park behind Dillard's at The Pines Mall, where shuttle vans will take them to the site.

GUEST SPEAKERS

John L. Berrey, Chairman, Quapaw Nation & Downstream Development Authority Tim Griffin, Lieutenant Governor, State of Arkansas Leslie Rutledge, Attorney General, State of Arkansas Shirley Washington, Mayor, City of Pine Bluff Gerald Robinson, County Judge, Jefferson County Barry Switzer, former Razorback; Super Bowl-winning former head Coach, Dallas Cowboys; three-time national champion head coach, University of Oklahoma

 

 

COMING SOON

Many PB residents looking forward to new casino

CUTLINE:

The former Southern Edge truck stop just east of where the Saracen Casino Resort will be located at the corner of US 79/63 is being renovated to include a casino annex. The annex, shown here, will include casino gaming. The site is expected to open in the next few weeks. Commercial Managing Editor/John Worthen

 

SPECIAL TO THE COMMERCIAL

A groundbreaking celebration for Saracen Casino Resort, a $350 million development by the Quapaw Nation, will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 5, at the construction site at 3512 Market St. in Pine Bluff. Many in Pine Bluff are anticipating not only gambling and entertainment options but also jobs.

Sherry Watkins of Pine Bluff said she is applying for a housekeeping position at the hotel.

“It’s something new for me,” Watkins said. “I am recently divorced, so I need some new income. I heard that they were hiring, so I thought I would go for it.”

Pine Bluff resident Regina King said she wants to apply to be a dealer at one of the gaming tables.

“I hear you can make a lot of money,” King said. “This is a great opportunity for so many in our community.”

The Quapaw people historically lived in eastern and southern Arkansas before they were forcibly relocated to Oklahoma in the 1830s. The casino is named after Chief Saracen, who was a leader of the Quapaw Nation. He died at age 97 in 1832.

The Saracen Casino will be the Quapaw Nation's third casino. The tribe also owns and operates Downstream Casino Resort near the Oklahoma/Missouri line and Quapaw Casino in Miami, Oklahoma. Downstream officially opened its doors on July 5, 2008, and drew more than 37,000 guests its first day.

"This reminds me of how excited and proud we were 12 years ago breaking ground for Downstream, and what that meant for Joplin and the surrounding region," said John L. Berrey, chairman of the Quapaw Nation and of the Downstream Development Authority and Saracen Casino Development, in a statement.

"Saracen Casino will be a lot like Downstream in terms of style, design and luxury, and in what we think it will do for Pine Bluff. But also, building Saracen Casino is a homecoming for the Quapaw people. That's where we lived. It is where the great Chief Saracen is buried. So this is a very special for us."

The casino is estimated to create about 1,000 construction jobs and approximately 1,100 permanent jobs once it opens in the spring of 2020. The development will span 570,000 square feet on 110 acres of developed land. More than 2,000 slot machines and 50 table games will be dispersed throughout 80,000 square feet of the gaming floor. An additional 300 machines will be located at the Saracen Annex Q-Store.

The hotel portion will feature 300 rooms, a conference center, entertainment venue, spa, restaurants and lounges, as well as a museum and cultural center. The grounds will also feature amenities such as a health clinic, safety and fire services, and a child learning center and day care.

Pine Bluff resident Jackson Thompson said he has been looking forward to the casino since it was first announced months ago. He said he normally travels to Oaklawn in Hot Springs.

“Now I won’t have to drive far,” Thompson said. “I like the atmosphere of a casino more than anything. It’s fun to people watch, and they usually have good food.”

Commercial Managing Editor John Worthen contributed to this report.