Citizens of Memphis, Tennessee will soon be able to gamble at a beautiful new $250 million dollar complex on the Mississippi River.
It just won’t be located in Memphis.
According to a story in Memphis Commercial Appeal, Southland Gaming & Racing is planning to spend hundreds of millions on an approved project in West Memphis, just across the Mississippi River from Memphis itself. Southland is promising to create 400 new jobs with a sprawling complex – and potentially a full operating casino in addition to racing and sports gambling facilities – across 113,000 square feet of land along the Mississippi…on the Arkansas side.
The luxurious hotel-gaming locale will compete with tourism in Tunica, Mississippi, where legal casinos operate. Memphis is expected to see a boost in its economy thanks to Southland Gaming and Racing, but local beat columnist Ryan Poe wonders why there’s a hold-up on legal gambling in the Home of the Blues.
“(Tennessee) has had a lottery for years,” Poe laments, before adding that at least some local politicians are working to legalize some sports betting. Those profits, however, are mostly flowing offshore. “With those (sports gambling) dollars headed over the border,” writes Poe, “maybe the next step is allowing casinos.”
Still, the sea change brought on by the slow-burn legalization of gambling in America could create a kind of culture shock as cities work rapidly to change with the times. For example, another line in Poe’s editorial reads, “if Memphis were opened to casinos years from now, perhaps the most coveted location would be the area northeast of Bass Pro Shops.”
Image from Wikimedia.