Artist's rendering of the proposed Saracen Casino Resort in Arkansas. Saracen was a Quapaw leader who is buried in Pine Bluff, where the tribe hopes to build a casino. Image: Quapaw Nation

Quapaw Nation wins endorsement to operate commercial casino in Arkansas

The Quapaw Nation continues to move forward with plans for a commercial casino in Arkansas.

The tribe's Downstream Development Authority has been endorsed as the operator for a new facility in Jefferson County. The area was once home to the Quapaw people and Chief Saracen was laid to rest there in 1832 at the age of 97.

“As the original homeland for the Quapaw Nation, we believe we have an obligation to the region to be good corporate citizens,” Chairman John Berrey said in a press release on Monday. “This casino resort will be a source of pride for the community. It will create hundreds of jobs and generate millions of dollars in taxes that will help improve the city's and county’s infrastructure and quality of life.”

The Saracen Casino Resort would be named after the late chief. Though the Arkansas Racing Commission must still award the license for the project, Berrey believes it could be open by late 2019.

The casino in Jefferson County was authorized by voters through Issue 4 on the November 6 ballot. The initiative passed with 55 percent of the vote.

The Quapaw Nation and the Cherokee Nation were the two primary financial backers of the Driving Arkansas Forward campaign. They spent nearly $6 million on the effort.

Issue 4 authorized a total of four casinos in Arkansas. Two would be located at existing racetracks.

Both tribes operate casinos in neighboring Oklahoma.

Read More on the Story
Local leaders select Quapaw Nation as casino operator for Jefferson County (The Arkansas Times December 3, 2018)
Local Leaders OK Quapaw Casino for Pine Bluff (The Arkansas Business Times December 3, 2018)
Downstream Development Authority selected to bring new casino to Jefferson County (KATV December 3, 2018)
Quapaw Nation’s Downstream enterprise selected by Pine Bluff, Jefferson County to lead casino efforts (Talk Business & Politics December 3, 2018)
‘Downstream’ selected as operator for PB casino (The Pine Bluff Commercial December 3, 2018)
Pine Bluff casino plan gets letters of support; mayor, county judge tout proposal (The Arkansas Democrat Gazette December 4, 2018)

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