An artist's rendering promotes a 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 awaits decision on gaming license in Arkansas

The Quapaw Nation is moving quickly with plans for a commercial casino in Arkansas.

The tribe hopes to select a general contractor and architectural firm by next week, Chairman John Berrey said at a public forum on Monday. The tribe is also narrowing down the potential sites for the project.

“I’d tell you where it’s going to be located but we are not one hundred percent,” Berrey said at the forum in the city of Pine Bluff, The Pine Bluff Commercial reported.

The Arkansas Racing Commission must still decide whether to approve the tribe's application for a gaming license. Berrey has previously said the casino could be open by late 2019 or early 2020.

"Once we know, once we get the license, I want to start moving dirt immediately,” Berrey said, KHTV reported.

The Saracen Casino Resort would be located in an area where the tribe has long connections. Chief Saracen was laid to rest in Pine Bluff in 1832 at the age of 97.

The tribe operates two casinos in Oklahoma, including one whose property reaches into Kansas and Missouri. The tribe also owns land in Arkansas and once had a reservation there.

The commercial 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 tribe, along with the Cherokee Nation, was a major backer of the Driving Arkansas Forward ballot initiative.

Read More on the Story
Quapaw chief updates community on proposed casino (The Pine Bluff Commercial December 12, 2018)
Downstream Casino and Resort makes food deliveries to food banks in need (Four States Homepage December 11, 2018)
Quapaw Nation Shares Casino Plans for Pine Bluff (KARK December 10, 2018)
Jefferson County casino one step closer to approval, sends submission to racing commission (KTHV December 10, 2018)

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