Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson asked all casinos to shut down for the next two weeks during his public address update on the Coronavirus on Tuesday.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson asked all casinos to shut down for the next two weeks during his public address update on the Coronavirus on Tuesday.

A release from Quapaw Chairman, John L. Berrey of Saracen Casino, said after discussion with Hutchinson, they would follow his public health guidance and order to temporarily suspend operation of the Saracen Annex venue in Pine Bluff, effective noon today extending the end of March.

In a prior contact on March 12 with Saracen Casino to ask if they had plans to close their response was the Saracen Casino Resort was very concerned about their patron and employee safety and have taken several steps to ensure the well being of all involved. The casino had no intention to close.

Since then there has been 22 positive coronavirus cases in Arkansas. Now the operations of the annex will cease until the end of March.

Hutchinson said the closing of casinos will impact approximately 900 hourly employees in Eastern Arkansas.

Berrey said in his release that they will continue their dialogue with both state and federal health officials regarding best

practices as identified by the CDC and they share everyone’s concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19).

“The Quapaw Nation and the Saracen Development Authority are committed to doing all we can to prevent spread of the virus, and to assist affected employees as well as partnering with the local community to weather

this storm together,” said Berrey.

The Quapaw Nation and the Downstream Development Authority operate two gaming facilities in Oklahoma, Quapaw Casino in Miami and Downstream Casino in Quapaw. The $350 million Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff will include an 80,000-square foot gaming floor, 2,000+ slot machines and 31 gaming tables; a 300-room hotel with conference and banquet centers, an entertainment venue, and several restaurants, in addition to a safety, fire and EMS facility, daycare, and child learning center.

Construction of the Saracen Casino Resort is expected to continue, as well as retail operations at the Saracen Q-Store utilizing CDC recommendations for the safety of team members and the public.