West Memphis Could Get $200 Million Convention Center If Casino Measure Passes – KUAR

If the casino ballot initiative passes in Arkansas on Tuesday, Delaware North, the parent company of Southland Gaming and Racing, will attempt to build a hotel and convention center in West Memphis, Delaware North Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs Jack McNeill told Talk Business & Politics. It would cost at least $200 million to build and would likely be located on the Southland property, he said.

An estimate of how long it would take to build was not available. Some of the current facilities might have to be modified to accommodate a project of this size, he said. Soil samples could be tested and renderings of the proposed facility could be drafted in the weeks after the election if it passes, he added.

“It would be a priority of the company to get it up and get it going,” McNeill said.

One rumor that has been floated – that Southland will eliminate dog racing if the casino initiative passes – isn’t true, he said. There have been no internal discussions about ending racing for any reason, and it’s not under consideration, he said.

Issue 4 is a constitutional amendment that would permit casinos in four Arkansas counties – Garland, Crittenden, Pope, and Jefferson – with two of the casino licenses being granted to Oaklawn and Southland. Tax revenues generated by the casinos would be distributed to the state’s general revenue fund, to cities and counties where the casinos are located, and to the Arkansas Racing Commission for purses for horse and dog races.

A recent Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College Poll indicated that 49% of Arkansas voters approve of Issue 4 while 43% oppose the measure. McNeill said he thinks Arkansas voters will weigh the benefits of expanded gaming when they cast their

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