The Saracen Casino Resort planned for Pine Bluff is expected to generate $32 million in tax-based revenue in five years, according to Chief John Berrey. It will be located on the property at the corner of US 63/79 and the Martha Mitchell Expressway across from the Social Security complex and the Pines Mall.
Speaking to the Pine Bluff Rotary Club Tuesday, Berrey, of the Quapaw Tribe, said Downstream Development has already “spent thousands of dollars” preparing for construction, which he said will begin as soon as the State Racing Commission approves a license which could happen in April. Berrey also said the gaming floor will be built first, “to give us cash flow,” while the 300-room resort hotel could take an additional six months to complete. Construction costs for the casino resort will run between $210 and $240 million dollars and will require an estimated 1,000 workers.
The combination casino resort will create 1,000 to 1,100 permanent jobs and said Downstream Development is working with the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Southeast Arkansas College to train future workers.
As far as an opening, Berrey said he was shooting for Valentine’s Day in 2020. “We will probably have a few soft openings before that, just to be sure everything is ready, but when we have the opening, it’s going to be a tremendous opening,” he said.