Tribal Organization: Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma
US Hwy 63/79 at Martha Mitchell Expressway
Pine Bluff, Arkansas
On June 13, 2019 the Arkansas Racing Commission unanimously approved the casino license sought by the Quapaw Tribe to build a casino in Jefferson County at Pine Bluff. The casino will be named Saracen Casino Resort after Quapaw Chief Saracen, whowas buried in Pine Bluff back in 1832.
The Quapaw Tribe has worked with local officials for the past 5 years to bring a casino to Pine Bluff. The casino project is supported by government leaders of both Pine Bluff and Jefferson County.
The Quapaw Nation are building the $240 million dollar Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff after winning a casino license from the Arkansas Racing Commission. Arkansas voters approved Amendment 3 in the Nov 2018 election legalizing casino gambling and authorizing the state to issue casino licenses for the first time ever.
Saracen Casino is the third casino licensed in Arkansas and the third owned by the Quapaw Nation. The tribe also owns the Quapaw Casino in Miami, OK and the Downstream Casino Resort in Quapaw, OK.
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70,000- to 80,000 square foot casino floor
Opening Valentine's Day 2020
Additional gaming details are pending
Entertainment venue is planned. Detail are to be announced.
350-room hotel, conference space and spa to be built starting in 2020
June 14, 2019
Yesterday the Arkansas Racing Commission unanimously approved the casino application submitted by the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma to build the Saracen Casino Resort in Jefferson County at Pine Bluff. The $350 million casino resort is supported by both city and county officials.
Quapaw's Downstream Development Authority will develop the project and manage the operation. The Saracen Casino Resort will be modeled after Downstream Casino Resort in Quapaw, Oklahoma. A major difference is the Saracen Casino Resort will not be an Indian gaming casino regulated by the National Indian Gaming Commissions. Instead it will be a commercial casino licensed and regulated by the Arkansas Racing Commission.
Construction is expected to take 11 months and employ 1,000 workers. A grand opening is expected in the first half of 2020.
The Quapaw Tribe was the sole bidder for the Jefferson County casino license. This is the third casino authorized in the state. The first two licensees were Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort and Southland Casino Racing. Both began operations April 1, 2019.
The fourth and final license will be issued for a Pope County casino. Five applicants submitted proposals to the Arkansas Racing Commission prior to the May 31 deadline. All five applications have been declined. The rejected applicants were:
Cherokee Nation and Legends Joint Venture
Gulfside Casino Partnership (River Valley Casino Resort)
Hard Rock International & Warner Gaming (Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Arkansas)
Robert and Ruth Kehl
All were rejected for not having documented local support from city officials or the county judge.
May 1, 2019
The Quapaw Nation delivered an official application and a $250,000 check to the Arkansas Racing Commission office today. It was the opening day for applicants to apply for the two available licenses in Pope and Jefferson counties. Applications can be submitted through May 30.
The Quapaw Nation plan to build a 240 million casino named Saracen Casino Resort. It will be located in Jefferson County near The Pines mall in Pine Bluff.
Construction of Saracen Casino Resort would start immediately upon approval of the application. It will take about twelve months to complete the casino and restaurants and another six months to complete the hotel and convention center
March 9, 2019
If approved by the Arkansas Racing Commission, the Quapaw Tribe intends to break ground on its Saracen Casino Resort immediately after issuanace of a gaming license.
John Berrey, a Quapaw Tribe chief and project chairman, described the casino as being in the programming phase. The $320 million financial target to build the project is based on $100 million for construction materials, $120 million for the cost of construction and $100 million to furnish and equip the facilities.
"Programming is a big word for taking all the stuff we want and jamming it into a building that looks good and figuring out how much it cost, because I have to borrow this money," John Berrey said. "Twelve years ago, you (could) get 10 times your income, but now it's three or four times, so I'm limited by our feasibility study to what I can borrow. We've been working for the last two weeks, and we want a lot of stuff, but we don't want to pay a whole lot for it."
Berrey believes construction can be completed on a similar schedule as the Downstream Casino and Resort in Oklahoma, an earlier project he managed. If so, it will take ten months to construct the outside of the Saracen Casino Resort, and complet the restaurants and gaming areas. Construction of the hotel will take another six months.
Berrey said, "We'll build the structure, put the skin on it ... we'll focus on opening the casino so I can start generating income to help pay for finishing up the hotel and convention space. So, let's say we get our license mid-April, I'm thinking I'd like to see it open by Valentine's Day 2020."
February 26, 2019
This is a summary of the key progress made since the Nov 2018 election which allowed a casino to be built in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
The Pine Bluff casino plan was submitted by the Downstream Development Authority of the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma. This is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Quapaw that has owned and operated the Downstream Casino Resort in Quapaw, OK since 2008.
The Pine Bluff casino will be named Saracen Casino Resort in honor of Chief Saracen, a Quapaw leader who was buried in Pine Bluff in the mid-1830s.
Downstream Development Authority was selected by leaders in Pine Bluff and Jefferson County to build and operate the casino in Pine Bluff.
The casino site is located at the intersection of US Hwy 63/79 and the Martha Mitchell Expressway. This is across from the Pines Mall and the Social Security Administration.
Construction plans are in place and ready to break ground as soon as the casino license is issued by the State Racing Commission. This could be as early as April of May.
Construction will take 10 months and cost $210 to $240 million dollars.
An estimated 1,000 temporary workers will be needed for construction and 1,000 to 1,100 workers will be permanently employed by the casino.
The grand opening is targeted for Valentine's Day 2020.
Downstream Development announced the purchase of the Southern Edge Truck Stop on U.S. Hwy 63. This is a 24/7 fuel station and convenience store near the casino site.
Southern Edge Truck Stop, 3513 Market St, Pine Bluff, AR 71603, (870) 534-2402
December 09, 2018
The proposed Saracen Casino Resort has received letters of support from city and county government leaders. The letters were sent to the Downstream Development Authority. The group is part of the Oklahoma based Quapaw Nation.
The tribe owns the Downstream Casino Resort and the Quapaw Casino.
On Wednesday the Racing Commission will meet to discuss the proposed casino.
If approval is given, the Saracen Casino Resort could open by the end of next year.
Voters approved a constitutional amendment that would expand gaming on November 6 of this year. This was Issue Four on the ballot.
Downstream Development Authority contributed $3.65 million to the campaign to pass the expanded gaming measure.
November 08, 2018
By the end of April, a permit could be granted for a casino in Pine Bluff. By June ground could be broken. The casino could be opened by the beginning of 2020. The casino would be owned by the Quapaw Tribe from Oklahoma.
If approved the casino would offer a range of gambling including sports betting.
The tribe was a major supporter of the expanded gaming law, Issue 4.
Officials for Pine Bluff have worked with the tribe for 5 years in effort to develop a casino there. The exact location for the casino has not been released. However, it could be on the city's southwest side.
The Quapaw have a historical connection to Pine Bluff as their ancestral homeland.