In November, Arkansas voters passed an amendment to legalize four casinos in the state—in Jefferson and Pope counties, at a West Memphis dog track and a Hot Springs horse track.
The Quapaw Nation’s Downstream Development Authority plans to apply for a casino in Jefferson County, where local leaders are backing the tribe.
Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington and Jefferson County Judge Booker Clemons endorsed the Quapaw Tribe in letters this week, announcing their exclusive support for Downstream Development Authority.
A green light on the Jefferson County casino would represent a homecoming for the Quapaw Nation. The Arkansas Racing Commission still needs to approve the license for the project.
“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.
“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,” he added.
The casino’s namesake, Quapaw Nation Chief Saracen, was laid to rest in 1832 in what is now Jefferson County.
Chairman Berrey believes The Saracen Casino Resort could be open by late 2019.
The Quapaw Nation and Cherokee Nation acted as the primary financial backers of the Driving Arkansas Forward, together spending nearly $6 million on the campaign.