Construction has officially begun on the Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff. At the formal groundbreaking ceremony, John Berrey, chairman of the Quapaw Tribal Business Committee highlighted the various ways this new development is expected to revitalize the Pine Bluff community. The casino’s construction is projected to bring in 1,000 jobs for local contractors, and the facility itself will create over 1,100 permanent jobs.
The ceremony was attended by Lt. Governor Tim Griffin and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, who were optimistic about the project.
“With the Quapaw Nation planting roots in Pine Bluff, this new endeavor with good-paying jobs will bolster economic development and breathe new life into Pine Bluff and southeast Arkansas,” Rutledge says
With the Saracen Casino Resort, the Quapaw Nation plans to boost the local and state economy while investing in its residents and enhancing the quality of life. “Every dollar spent turns over about seven times in the community,” says Berrey. “It goes beyond the hotel and casino. The tribe is investing in agriculture and aquaculture for our restaurants’ farm to table program, and to keep our guests safe, we’re financing new fire and police stations that will service our resort and the surrounding area.”
Downstream Development Authority, the business arm of the Quapaw tribe, is actively seeking partnerships with local schools, UA-PB in particular.
“Many of our jobs require educated people. Gaming and hospitality are highly-regulated industries, so we’ll be working with local schools and colleges to find great employees. There’ll be a lot of great jobs for dealers, too. Back in Oklahoma, many of our dealers make six figures, so we’ve got plenty of good jobs for good people,” says Berrey.
Downstream has already hired 34 Jefferson County residents to permanent positions, and will be providing further opportunities on August 11 at their job fair in the Pine Bluff Convention Center, open from 9AM to 3PM.
The $350 million casino will feature 80,000 square feet of gambling space containing 2,000 slot machines and 50 table games. Saracen’s hotel will boast 300 rooms and suites, event spaces, daycare, a spa and multiple restaurants.
The casino is scheduled to open mid-2020.