Cherokee Nation Businesses and Legends have divulged the plans for a proposed casino in Pope County, Arkansas — a destination slated to make a total statewide economic impact in excess of $5 billion in the first 10 years. The project, forecasted for completion within 18 months of groundbreaking, would generate upwards of 1,000 direct jobs.
Cherokee Nation Businesses (CNB) and Legends announced their partnership to develop the $225 million Legends Resort & Casino Arkansas in June. Founded in 2008 through a joint venture between Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, Legends brings “a wealth of experience having worked with premier venues across professional sports, live events and collegiate partners including The University of Arkansas, AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Ultimate Fighting Championship and Live Nation amphitheaters,” says Shawn Slaton, CEO of Cherokee Nation Businesses.
Designed by international firm HKS Architects, Legends Resort & Casino Arkansas in Russellville, Arkansas, will showcase architecture influenced by the distinctive natural landscape of the Arkansas River Valley. Proposed amenities include:
- Approximately 50,000 square feet of gaming space accommodating 1,200 slot machines and 32 table games; a sportsbook will be located within a high-end sports bar.
- Luxury hotel with 200 rooms, resort-style pool, spa and fitness center.
- 15,000 square feet of mixed-use conference and entertainment space accommodating 1,000 people.
- Robust culinary experience with a variety of food and beverage options — including a food hall, high-end steakhouse, grab & go concept and multiple bar and nightlife options.
- RV park with 100 spots.
- Outdoor water park providing fun for the entire family.
- Outdoor music venue with beautiful spots for gathering and entertainment.
“Since submitting our initial application to the Arkansas State Racing Commission in May, we have remained fully committed to the people of Pope County and to taking our proposed development to the next level,” Slaton said. “Today, with much excitement, we are pleased to unveil our plans. We’ve embraced the community’s feedback and are confident this resort destination brings something for everyone.”
Last year, after Arkansas voters approved a constitutional amendment legalizing casino gambling in four counties last year, bids were submitted for a Pope County gaming facility by CNB, the Choctaw Nation Division of Commerce, Warner Gaming, Gulfside Casino Partnership and Kehl Management.
Last week, officials from the Downstream Development Authority of the Quapaw Tribe broke ground on a $350 million casino in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, forecasted to open in June 2020. The Authority, which received the casino license for Jefferson County, will develop and operate Saracen Casino Resort, situated about 38 miles south of Little Rock. Counting 2,000 slot machines, 50 table games, and 300 hotel rooms, and replete with an entertainment venue (slated to open in December 2020), the casino resort is expected to create 1,100 jobs upon completion. A smaller gaming annex featuring 300 slot machines is slated to open ahead of the resort, in October 2019.