PINE BLUFF, Ark. — Step right up and place your bets because the highly anticipated Saracen Casino is finally a reality in Pine Bluff.
It opened Thursday afternoon during a soft-opening event after a two-years long process.
"It's nice to have something that is entertainment, fun, but safe at the same time,” said Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
Hutchinson was one of the first to tour the casino.
He said he's proud to see what has been done to safely open the doors amid the COVID-19 Pandemic.
"All the employees will be wearing masks, we will enforce that guests wear masks as well, we will be social distancing at the tables as well as the restaurants,” Matt Harkness, general manager of Saracen Casino.
Stepping on to the game floor is 8,000 square feet of 2,000 slot machines and 35 tables.
There are barriers in between each machine to assure social distancing.
The casino also includes a dining hall, additional restaurants including a steak house, and a sports lounge and bar, and a VIP room.
"We'll have six different types of brewed beer at our property that's brewed here,” Harkness.
Harkness said Saracen has a well-established security team run by a former Arkansas State Trooper.
"With this pandemic going on, people need something to do. So, this is great,” said Doris Golden, a Pine Bluff woman.
Golden was one of the first Pine Bluff residents to play at a slot machine.
With the casino being right off the highway, Golden hopes this sparks an economic boost for the city she loves.
"I hope it continues to bring more jobs for people who need to work, and up the revenue in Jefferson County for everybody,” said Golden.
The casino opens to the public on Oct. 20th at 10 a.m. and is open 7 days a week.
Hours are subject to change during the COVID-19 pandemic.