Southland Park eyes success in face of sour economy - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Lori Brown

Southland Park eyes success in face of sour economy

WEST MEMPHIS, AR (WMC-TV) - While the economy is crushing Mississippi casinos, it seems tough times may actually be good for the casino that boasts being the close alternative to Tunica.

Monday, company officials said the economy isn't stopping Southland Park Gaming and Racing from hitting the jackpot.  In fact, according to Southland Gaming & Racing president Troy Keeping, the economy may be helping the casino and race track do just that.
"It's working to our advantage, because we are quick and convenient," Keeping said Monday. "We have a billboard, 'driving to Tunica is Fuelish.'"

The Arkansas Racing Commission reports Southland Park's business volume last month was up about 35 percent compared with last year at the same time.

Meanwhile, revenue at Mississippi casinos plummeted by $20 million last month.

While Keeping is in the business of being 'Lucky that Way,' as the park's slogan goes, he credits the company's success with his team's hard work in revamping the park's image.

"There was an overall public perception that we're a Greyhound race track," he said. "We went out with a brand new campaign, re-did our logo, let people know we now have a brand new cafe...a complete gaming product, similar to what they have in Tunica."

Southland's revamp started with adding a gaming floor two years ago. This year, the park rolled out a steak house and a simulcast room, where people can gamble on races throughout the United States.

Keeping said he is betting on the upgrades to keep people coming back, even after the economy turns around.

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