SOUTHLAND, Ark. (WMC) - West Memphis is betting on Southland Casino, as the gaming complex launches sports betting just days before the Super Bowl.
Talk about good timing. Sports betting starting at Southland right before the Super Bowl. It is just one more new attraction that is likely a lock for success.
“If it’s going to help the community like more money and inside of West Memphis, I say go for it," said Arkansas resident Diandra Lee.
Southland Gaming and Racing is going for it. At 1 p.m. Tuesday sports betting made its debut in the casino and the timing Southland says is a straight up coincidence with possibly the biggest sports betting game of the year, the Super Bowl less, than a week away.
“Timing is great," said Jeff Strang, with Southland.
Strang says the sports betting offers a new attraction, increasing the odds more patrons will also come.
“We feed off a population and we’re hoping it’s going to make it more convenient to come here based on time, travel as elsewhere in the Midsouth," said Strang.
If you look at the parking lot, you’ll see many of the patrons at Southland come from Shelby County. Some of the same population that goes to Tunica where sports betting came to casinos there in the summer of 2018.
Webster Franklin, head of the Tunica Convention and Visitors Bureau said in part in a statement: “As sports betting expands across the U.S., our six casino operators will continue to provide gamblers with the best odds, betting lines and overall gaming experience to be found.”
Southland is also upping the ante with a larger casino floor, more restaurants and a 20-story hotel tower under construction right now.
Strang says Memphis should benefit as well.
“This adds more inventory to help compete to bring more events to the Memphis area so it compliments Memphis," said Strang.
Now with all of the growth at Southland, there are even more changes coming with the Greyhound racing. It will be phased out over the next three years and then will be gone from Southland.