WEST MEMPHIS, AR (WMC) - Southland Gaming will now be known as “Southland Casino Racing” starting Monday.
For the first time, live table games will be offered just minutes away from downtown Memphis.
This seismic shift in the gambling landscape was made possible by a constitutional amendment passed by Arkansas voters in 2018.
“I’ve been in gaming 38 years. This is probably one of the biggest things I’ve been involved in my entire career,” said David Wolf, president.
The preparations are complete. At 4 a.m., customers will be able to get off the electronic games and enjoy state-of-the-art tables.
"We got these new roulette tables, they're called blaze tables, nothing like it in the Mid-South. They light up, they're a lot of fun," said Wolf.
Customers say they're excited for the new games.
More than 40 live table games will open, offering blackjack, craps and roulette. Poker is coming at a later date.
"I don't like to play the animated, I like to play the live, so I'm looking forward to it," said Harrison Sneed, customer.
“Bring a lot of money and jobs and excitement to this area, sure will,” said Perry Hess, customer.
In six to eight weeks, Southland will break ground on a $250 million expansion that includes a 20-story hotel tower with 300 rooms, planned to open in 2020.
More than 100 employees were hired for Monday's new live games and hundreds more will get jobs in the future.
Southland expects a huge economic impact for not only West Memphis, but Memphis as well.
“We’re going to be another great amenity for them, 7 and a half minutes from downtown. This is going to be great for them as far as assisting in attracting conventions, tourism,” said Wolf.
Gaming industry experts are interested to see how Arkansas casinos will affect casinos in Tunica, that draw customers from Memphis.
Tunica casinos representatives have told WMC Action News 5 that they welcome competition and believe people will still visit.