Saracen Casino and Resort in Pine Bluff is preparing to open its doors. The casino held a soft opening on Thursday., Oct. 15 that welcomed VIP guests and media for tours.
The casino’s gaming floor is 80,000 square-feet and includes more than 2,000 slot machines and 35 card tables. There are seven restaurants, including a steakhouse and sports bar, a poker room, and a VIP “high stakes” room. Saracen Casino is the first purpose-built casino in the state.
Officials are also enforcing several social distancing regulations due to the coronavirus pandemic. All workers and guests must wear masks, although guests will be allowed to take them off when drinking or eating. Guests also have their temperatures taken upon entry to the gaming floor. Some slot machines have plexiglass barriers to ensure separation. The card tables have a limited number of chairs to distance guests. The director of security is a former Arkansas State Police trooper.
Several government officials, including Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, and Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington attended the soft opening. Representatives of the Quapaw Nation, including Chairman Joseph Tali Byrd and 2019-2020 Tribal Princess Kristal Glass, were also in attendance.
Officials expect Saracen Casino to bring additional jobs and revenue to Pine Bluff. The casino estimates that 1,100 permanent jobs will be created by the time construction on the entire property ends, and currently 800 positions have been filled. Nearly 1,000 construction jobs have been created over the past two years for the project.
Construction continues on the resort, which will eventually include a 300-room hotel, a spa, and a convention center. The entire property is 570,000 total square feet on 110 acres. The project costs $350,000 million.
The grand opening for Saracen Casino will be on Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 10 am.