week away from the opening of the application window for two casino licenses in the state, the Las Vegas-based hospitality and entertainment company has announced it is partnering with the Hard Rock brand to propose a new fully-integrated resort with casino gaming for Pope County.
Warner Gaming operates resort properties throughout the western and midwestern United States. "We aim to deliver to Pope County a facility that will attract visitors throughout the region and beyond," Bill Warner, the company's owner and CEO said. "With its truly global reach, the Hard Rock brand will help us do that."
In November 2018, Arkansas voters approved a constitutional amendment authorizing the issuance of four casino gaming licenses, including one for a location in Pope County, Talk Business & Politics reported. Warner Gaming will file its application with the Arkansas Racing Commission in May, which will include a proposal describing further details of the project. A projected budget has not been released.
"Arkansans have decided to keep the jobs and tax revenues associated with casino gaming within the state, and we are excited for the opportunity to be a part of that," Warner said. "In the coming weeks, we will continue our discussions with Pope County residents so that we can get a feel for what the community would like to see in a project like this. Our past experience has taught us that community input and involvement is critical to our success."
Hard Rock has a presence in 75 countries, including 185 Hard Rock Cafes, 27 hotels and 11 casinos. Since 2011, Warner Gaming has managed the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. In 2014, Warner Gaming opened the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Sioux City, Iowa, after being awarded the gaming license in a competitive application process.
"The Hard Rock brand is one of the most recognizable in the world. We are pleased with the opportunity to bring the Hard Rock brand to Arkansas and continue our relationship with the Warner Gaming team," said Jon Lucas, chief operating officer of Hard Rock International.