Southland Park Gaming & Racing in West Memphis, Ark., a major competitor for gaming dollars in Memphis area, is planning a $37.4 million expansion and redesign of its operation.
The expansion will add a new 41,000-square-foot building which will house up to 500 new gaming machines and a new themed restaurant and sports bar. When finished, the addition and the old building will look like one new complex.
The site added 200 gaming machines in a $11 million expansion in 2011 that was fueled by the Mississippi River spring floods, which forced many Tunica casinos to close.
Southland, which is closer to Memphis than the 30-mile trek to Tunica County, then became a favorite location for many Memphis gamblers. That, plus the increase of gaming venues nationwide, have state gaming officials concerned.
For example, gross gaming revenues for Mississippi River casinos dropped from $115.7 million in February 2012 to $99.1 million in February 2013. February, when many gamble with their income tax refunds, is usually one of biggest months of the year for casinos. In 2013, revenues were down from 2012 numbers in 10 of the reported 11 months. When December figures are release, they will like show 2013 as the weakest gaming year for the Mississippi River counties since 1995, when there were considerably fewer casinos.
“Our business keeps growing, so we want to continue the expansion and transformation of Southland Park into the unquestioned premiere gaming destination in the Mid-South,” said Troy Keeping, Southland Park’s president and general manager said in a Memphis Business Journal story. “This project will provide our guests with more space and allow us to add more of the best gaming machines on the market and another popular restaurant and entertainment spot within our complex.”
Southland Park is planning a ground breaking ceremony on Jan. 27 and anticipates completing the expansion by the end of 2014.