In November 2018, voters of Arkansas approved an amendment to the constitution authorizing four casino gaming licenses. One location included in the amendment was Pope County.
Casino Resort Proposed
Warner Gaming, a hospitality/entertainment company, has partnered with the Hard Rock brand to create a proposal for a fully integrated resort in Pope County.
The resort will include fine dining, conference areas, a hotel, and, of course, quality casino gaming. There will also be spaces for outdoor and indoor live entertainment.
In May, Warner Gaming will file its application for a casino license with the Arkansas Racing Commission. With the application, the company will include its proposal detailing the desired project.
Warner Gaming CEO and owner, Bill Warner, said: “We aim to deliver to Pope County a facility that will attract visitors throughout the region and beyond. With its truly global reach, the Hard Rock brand will help us do that.”
Warner stated further that his company will continue to have discussions with residents of Pope County. The goal is to get a feel for what the community wants to see regarding the casino resort project. According to Warner, community involvement and input has been critical to their overall success.
Hard Rock already has a presence in 75 countries. There are 11 casinos in the mix, along with 185 Hard Rock Cafés and 27 hotel facilities. The brand is one of the most recognizable in the world.
Two Casinos Already in Business
If the Hard Rock/Warner Gaming venture is approved, the facility will join two existing casino operations in the state. According to one of the VSO News articles, two casinos began operations earlier this month, just five months after the constitutional amendment for casino gaming was approved.
The Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort and Southland Casino Racing began offering full casino gaming at the beginning of April. Both facilities now offer slots and table games. The Oaklawn Casino is the smaller of the two, offering 1,300 electronic games and eight live table games. Southland offers 2,000 slot machines and 40 live table games.
Both facilities plan on growing in the future, which will help to bring even more gaming options to Arkansas. Southland plans on expanding its facility during the summer. An Oaklawn expansion is also planned for the summer with around $100m (£77.5m) to be spent on the facility, including a hotel and restaurants.