$200 million hotel and convention center coming to West Memphis?
Approval of Issue 4 could mean major venture for Southland parent company
With Issue 4, popularly known as “the casino ballot initiative,” passing by a 54-45 margin in Arkansas on Tuesday, Delaware North, the parent company of Southland Park Gaming and Racing says it is looking to build a hotel and convention center in West Memphis.
Delaware North Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs Jack McNeill told Arkansas Talk Business & Politics.
It would cost at least $200 million to build and would likely be located on property adjacent to the Southland property McNeill did not offer an estimate of how long it would take to build the multimillion-dollar facility but did say that some of the current facilities might have to be modified to accommodate a project of this size. Soil samples could be tested and renderings of the proposed facility could be drafted as soon as the next few weeks following the approval of the measure by Arkansas voters.
“It would be a priority of the company to get it up and get it going,” McNeill said.
McNeill also addressed a rumor making the rounds about the future of dog racing at Southland.
Greyhounds have raced at Southland since 1956.
There had been allegations that Southland will eliminate dog racing if the casino initiative passed — something McNeill said simply isn’t true. He said there have been no internal discussions about ending racing for any reason, and it is not an issue under consideration.
Issue 4 is a constitutional amendment that authorizes casinos in four Arkansas counties – Garland, Crittenden, Pope, and Jefferson – with two of the casino licenses being granted to Southland in West Memphis and Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs. The other two sites would be in or near Pine Bluff and Russelville.
Tax revenues generated by the casinos would be
Photo courtesy of WMSD
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distributed to the state’s general revenue fund, to cities and counties where the casinos are located, and to the Arkansas Racing Commission for purses for horse and dog races.
McNeill said he thinks Arkansas voters weighed the benefits of expanded gaming when they cast their ballots, which ultimately led to the approval of the measure 462,368 for, and