Southland Casino Racing has pushed back the opening of its $250 million expansion due to construction and other delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The property’s planned new amenities were originally expected to open doors for visitors and guests in early 2021, but their launch has now been postponed to mid-2022.
Located in West Memphis, Arkansas, Southland was one of the state’s two racetracks to have been allowed to add Las Vegas-style casino gambling options as part of a wider casino expansion push a few years ago. Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort was the other property to have been permitted to add slot machines and table games to its existing offering. Both racetracks went live with full-scale casino options in April 2019.
It was in 2019 again when Delaware North, Southland’s parent organization, started construction on the property’s expansion. The company originally planned to invest $200 million into adding more facilities at the racetrack and now full-blown casino, but has since then upped that initial investment to $250 million.
Construction work was expected to take approximately a year and a half and, as mentioned earlier, the new facilities were expected to be unveiled early this year. However, the Covid-19 pandemic and the closure of all non-essential operations across Arkansas throughout 2020 forced Delaware North to push back the launch.
The New Amenities
When complete, Southland will feature a 20-story hotel with 300 rooms, including 216 standard rooms, 72 corner suites, and 12 penthouse suites. The new hotel tower’s final beam was put in place earlier this week.
Delaware North also plans to expand the property’s gaming floor to cover a total area of more than 240,000 square feet. The company is set to add 500 new slot machines and 60 new live table games to the existing offering at its casino. Southland currently features over 1,500 slot machines as well as multiple blackjack, craps, and roulette tables, in addition to live greyhound racing and simulcast wagering.
The expansion project also includes the addition of new restaurants, a coffee shop, and a lounge for casino players. The expanded gaming floor and the new dining outlets are expected to open doors in mid-2022, while the hotel is set to be launched a few months later.
Last month, Southland launched free dealer classes as it looks to hire additional staff for its expanded operations. The property’s new amenities are expected to generate 400 new jobs.
The dealer school at the gambling venue includes blackjack, carnival games, and craps. It kicked off on May 3 and will run for 10 weeks Monday through Friday.
Property officials said that Southland currently has around 130 table game dealers and plans to expand to 160 by the summer.
Source: New opening date set for $250M expansion of Southland Casino Racing, WMC Action News 5, June 16, 2021