Southland park prepares for the future - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Southland park prepares for the future

Just a day after West Memphis voters said yes to expanded video gaming at Southland Greyhound Park, plans are already underway for the switch.

General Manager Barry Baldwin Says his company is planning on putting 35 million dollars into a complete renovation from the ground up. Baldwin Gave Action News 5 an exclusive look at the first floor area he wants to make the new video poker and black jack room.

It may not look like much now, but Baldwin says that will change.

"It'll be an entertainment place to come to," he said. "You won't even have to play games. It'll be fun to come here anyway."

Built in 1955, Southland Greyhound once did booming business, but since Tunica Casinos opened, profits have dwindled.

Even so, Baldwin says the two gambling destinations compliment each other, not compete.

"If you go to any Tunica Casino and count the number of video poker machines compared to the other machines, it's probably 8 percent," he said, "so that probably isn't their market."

In 2006, Southland will celebrate 50 years of racing, park owners hope the anniversary will signal a rebirth.

An Arkansas state gaming commission will meet to decide rules and regulations regarding the expansion of video gaming. That commission will also decide how many machines Southland will get.

They want 900 machines, which could mean up to 200 new jobs.

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