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Groundbreaking for new casino in Pine Bluff is much more than an entertainment venue for the community

The Saracen Casino Resort will bring over 1,000 construction jobs and 1,100 permanent jobs to the city.

PINE BLUFF, Ark. — There was lots of excitement in the air Monday morning in Pine Bluff where the groundbreaking ceremony for the Saracen Casino Resort took place. 

A groundbreaking that the Quapaw Nation is calling their homecoming. 

This digging of a pile of dirt marks new beginnings for the city of Pine Bluff. 

An action-packed atmosphere with guest speakers ranging from Coach Barry Switzer to Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin.

"It's a celebration, we need to act like it," said Lieutenant Governor Griffin. 

People from all over the state coming together to honor what this 110 acres of land will become.

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The Mayor of Pine Bluff, Shirley Washington, said this casino has a deep meaning for her city.

"What this casino means for Pine Bluff is that it's an advancement of our movement; our movement forward," she said.

This 350 million dollar Saracen Casino Resort will stand high right off Market Street. 

Lieutenant Governor Griffin said the location means everything.

"Let me tell you, folks. This is a game-changer for Pine Bluff and Jefferson County and will have an impact around the state of Arkansas," he said. 

Washington said the groundbreaking for this casino is much more than an entertainment center for Pine Bluff. It'll bring over 2,000 construction and permanent jobs to the community.

"It's not about gaming or gambling, it's about jobs. It's about increasing the tax base so that we can improve the quality of life," she said.

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John L. Berrey, Chairman for the Quapaw Business Committee, said the 570,000 square feet will bring more than just economic development to the city. 

"We want to take care of our community and all of the people that work with us and live around us, so you can count on us to be a part of the community," he said. 

Washington said this will revitalize Pine Bluff— one pile of dirt at a time. 

"It will just make Pine Bluff a better place all together and everybody I think would be proud to call Pine Bluff home," she said. 

There is not a set date of when the casino will open yet, but Berrey said his plan is to have the casino built before more people could build a house— so the work begins now!