All 3 casinos in AR have been approved to open on Monday


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — All three Arkansas casino’s have been approved to open on Monday. Those casinos include Oaklawn, Southland and Saracen casinos.


LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Dr. Nate Smith, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health, announced Wednesday that he has not given approval on the final version of Oaklawn’s plans to reopen, but did say he was impressed with earlier drafts.

KARK has reached out to Oaklawn for a response.

Southland Casino Racing officials say they have submitted their plan and the health department has received it, but it has not been approved yet.

Saracen Casino Resort tells KARK they are given their plan to the health department, but the health department says they have not received it yet.

Original Story:

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (News Release) – Pursuant to the Arkansas Department of Health directive, Oaklawn plans to reopen its casino on Monday, May 18 at 9 a.m.

“We are glad the Governor has provided us a target date for reopening the casino,” said General Manager Wayne Smith. “We are fully prepared to meet or exceed all recommended health and hygiene protocols. While we understand this timing might not be right for some people, just know we will be ready and safe for you when you are. The health and safety of our guests and team members are of the utmost importance. Of particular interest, on May 2 we concluded a successful race meet, albeit without fans, where we proved that by following strict protocols we could keep our horsemen and staff safe.”

In accordance with the guidelines set forth by the Arkansas Department of Health, Oaklawn has submitted a plan to operate the casino and F&B outlets highlighted by the following:

· Adjusted casino hours will be 9 a.m. to 3 a.m., Sun-Thu and 9 a.m. to 5 a.m., Fri-Sat.

· The casino will operate at 33% of facility capacity.

· There will only be one entrance for guests, which will be the main/front casino entrance.

· All guests and team members will be required to have non-invasive temperature checks as they enter the facility. Anyone presenting a temp at/over 100 degrees Fahrenheit will not be permitted inside the building.

· Guests will be asked to show ID upon entering should contact tracing be required.

· Guests will be required to wear masks at all times.

· Team members will wear masks at all times.

· Shuttle service will continue with limitations on number of guests per shuttle.

· Guests will be limited to every other slot machine to ensure social distancing.

· Live blackjack games limited to every other seat and no more than three players per table.

· Live craps limited to three players per side of each table.

· Live roulette will not be opened at this time.

· Smoking will not be allowed anywhere inside the facility, including the casino.

Oaklawn has continued to meet and exceed CDC and local/state health guidelines for cleaning and sanitizing protocols:

· The facility has undergone a series of deep cleanings in all areas.

· Oaklawn will increase the frequency of cleaning all public areas during the day.

· The casino will be electrostatically disinfected nightly when we are closed.

· Oaklawn has added additional hand sanitizing stations in all public and office areas.

· Prominently displayed signage regarding social distancing, health and hygiene for guests and team members throughout the property, porte cochère, shuttles and waiting areas.

· All team members will receive training on Covid-19 safety and sanitation protocols.

The Race & Sports Book (room and kiosks) will remain closed for the time being. There will not be any simulcast racing, marketing promotions, events, tournaments, or entertainment (live bands) until further notice.

Regarding dining, the Track Kitchen, Silks and Bistro 2705 will be open with the following guidelines:

· The Track Kitchen will be open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. seven days a week, serving breakfast and lunch.

· Silks will be open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sun-Thu and 11 a.m. to midnight Fri-Sat.

· Bistro 2705 will be open 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. Sun-Thu, 9 a.m.-5 a.m. Fri-Sat.

· Guests and team members will be required to wear masks.

· Social distancing, with extra spacing between tables and seating limitations of ten (10) or less per party, will be enforced.

· Menus will be disposable for one-time usage.

· Condiments to be in single use packets.

For additional details and future updates, please visit

Southland Casino Racing unveils ‘Play it Safe™’ program with new health and safety standards ahead of May 18 reopening 

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. (May 13, 2020) –Southland Casino Racing will implement a comprehensive program ahead of its May 18 reopening that features new health and safety standards aimed at helping keep guests and employees safe while slowing the spread of COVID-19.

The program, called Play It Safe™, encompasses Southland’s new operating procedures, which have been reengineered to minimize contact risk. It includes bolstered hygiene protocols to meet or exceed best-practice guidelines of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As part of this effort, the facility will undergo rigorous, ongoing cleaning and sterilization with Ecolab® products, which are formulated to eliminate bacteria and viruses such as COVID-19 and will close nightly for a deep-cleaning of all public areas. 

“The health and safety of guests and employees is above everything,” said David Wolf, president and general manager of Southland Casino Racing. “Throughout our temporary closure and during the development of the Play It Safe program, we have been working closely with state and local government officials and public health officers to ensure we are taking appropriate safety precautions.”

Key elements of the Play it Safe program include:

  • Guests are asked to adhere to social distancing protocols while waiting to enter.
  • All incoming guests will be added to a guest registry and their identity will be stored as a record of their visit.
  • All guests will be required to wear a mask or other face covering during their visit.
  • Temperature screening of guests takes place upon entering the facility.
  • An on-site Clean Team has been created, and its members are equipped with Ecolab® multi-surface cleaner and disinfectant to conduct ongoing sanitization of all surfaces. They will help to protect guests by dispensing hand sanitizer and spot cleaning slot machines and other surfaces on request. 
  • Social distancing protocols are in place throughout the facility.
  • Touchless service and payment options are now available at food and beverage outlets.
  • Hand-sanitizing stations have been added at the entrance and throughout the facility.
  • Air exchange settings have been bolstered to optimize air quality within the facility.
  • Some service offerings may be limited or unavailable to help maintain safe social distancing and health and safety guidelines.
  • No smoking will be permitted within the facility, and designated smoking areas will be established and maintained outside of the building.

Employees will undergo comprehensive training on Play It Safe health and safety standards and are required to strictly adhere to Play It Safe policies and procedures, including rigorous sanitization and hygiene requirements. Employees take a health check, including a temperature screen, when they report to work and are required to wear masks while on duty.

Southland will reopen at one-third capacity per the state’s directive and will feature a reduced number of slots and no table games, live racing or sports betting. The Lucky North players club will have limited hours, and food and beverage options will also be limited, with the World Market Buffet closed. The casino’s hours will be 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Southland will continue to consult on its plans with the Arkansas State Racing Commission, the State of Arkansas and the Crittenden County Health Department.   

Southland Casino Racing is owned and operated by Delaware North, a global hospitality and entertainment company with a portfolio of regional gaming and entertainment destinations. Delaware North is implementing Play It Safe throughout its gaming portfolio, which includes destinations in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, New York, Ohio, West Virginia and Australia.

Saracen Casino Statement:

“Last week we provided the state with an extensive operational plan, focusing on guest and team member safety. Today we received notification from the Arkansas Department of Health that our COVID-19 protocols were approved.  Our team will closely monitor this phased reopening and will remain in contact with Secretary Nate Smith and his team for their continued guidance and leadership.  We will open Monday, May 18 at 10 am, with reduced capacity, limited hours, masks required, an emphasis on social distancing, and a whole host of other new procedures,” said Chairman John Berrey.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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