Arkansas racetrack launches live casino games, adds jobs

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WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. (localmemphis.com) – A full-fledged casino is now ready for visitors to cash-in at the renamed Southland Casino Racing.

The business, formerly called Southland Gaming and Racing now has live table games for gamblers to try their luck and it is only a ten-minute drive from downtown Memphis.

Arkansas voters said yes to casino gambling just last November, legalizing it in four counties including Crittenden County.

“I think voters started realizing that it’s good for the state it’s good for the economy,” commented Southland’s President and General Manager Dave Wolf. “We give back to the community.”

Now Southland is boasting live table games for the first time both upstairs and downstairs and adding 100 jobs. The additional jobs positions include dealers and support staff. 

“We have forty live table games,” said Wolf. “We have craps, roulette blackjack and Mississippi stud and three-card poker. A couple of other card games here. Very exciting we’ve been very since 4 a.m. this morning.”

Officials say the additions will being a more traditional gambling option for visitors.

“They’ve actually had casino gambling per se but it was all mechanized,” said John McKanmie, a dealer at a casino in Tunica. “Now why it took them so long to have actual live dealers…the voters made the choice.”

McKanmie expects Tunica to feel the impact in its pockets.

“They put quite a dent overall in the casino market in this Mid-South area,” said McKanmie.

Southland’s president hopes that opinion is right. 

“We think a lot of customers are going to visit us more often,” Wolf said. “Matter of fact, today I had many a customer tell me thank you for opening, because it’s going to be closer to where I live and I won’t have to drive as far to Tunica.”

Wolf tells Local 24 News that sports betting can be expected later this summer.

This is only the first phase of a new look for the casino, which began as a dog track in 1956.

The company plans to break ground at the end of this month on a $250 million expansion project that includes an upgraded casino complex and high-rise hotel.

“We will and I expect business to have some business moving from Tunica to here,” commented Wolf.

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