Pine Bluff, Arkansas, will soon be home to the Saracen Casino Resort, a $350 million development on 350 acres east of the Pines Mall for the Downstream Development Authority of the Quapaw Nation. McGeorge Contracting is serving as general contractor for the base, paving, concrete, flatwork, curb and gutter, and main road entrances.
The expansive project will feature:
- 1,100 employees
- 80,000-square-foot gambling floor
- 2,300 slot machines, including 300 machines at the Saracen Annex Q Store
- 50 gaming tables
- 300-room hotel
- Safety/fire/EMS facilities
- Health clinic
- Child learning center & daycare
The casino was originally set to open in summer 2020, but the coronavirus outbreak pushed the opening date to September.
For John Berrey, the Saracen Casino represents another significant achievement for the Quapaw Arkansas Nation. Berrey is the chairman of the Quapaw Business Council, the governing body for the American Indian tribe.
"We have a lot of history there in Arkansas," Berrey says. "[The Quapaw] consider it our homeland. The name of the casino comes from our chief buried in the cemetery in Pine Bluff."
Quapaw leadership is most proud of the economic development it brings to the area. To date, nearly four hundred people have been hired for construction, and more than 200 are employed at the Saracen Annex and Q Store.
“This region was once home to the Quapaw Nation. Our presence here is a homecoming, so it’s important to us that the city of Pine Bluff and Jefferson County thrive,” said Chairman Berrey. “This begins with investing in the individuals who live here. Gainful employment benefits the employee, but it also transforms that individual’s household and allows him or her to invest in local businesses and grow the local economy.”
During the 19 years he has been on the Quapaw Business Council, Berrey has overseen the construction and operation of two gambling facilities in Oklahoma -- the Quapaw Casino in Miami and the Downstream Casino Resort in Quapaw.
"It is going to be a beautiful jewel," says Berrey of the Pine Bluff casino. "It will be a beautiful building. It will bring people to Jefferson County."
Some content from Arkansas Democrat Gazette