Downstream Development Authority selected to bring new casino to Jefferson County

(MGN Photo)

Leaders in Jefferson County and Pine Bluff have selected the Downstream Development Authority of the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma as their casino operator, indicated by letters of support sent to the Arkansas Racing Commission.

Chairman of Downstream and the Quapaw Nation John Berrey said these letters provide that the leadership's support is exclusive to Downstream.

In their letters, Jefferson County Judge Booker Clemons and Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington said Downstream demonstrated the "experience, commitment to the community and qualifications" to operate a casino.

"I’ve been impressed by the professionalism and loyalty to our community that I’ve seen from Downstream and the Quapaw Nation," Mayor Washington said. "Through our discussions over the last several months, it’s clear that Downstream wants to be a key partner in the growth and development of our city. I know the residents of Pine Bluff will join me in welcoming this resort, and we encourage the state to move forward quickly with the approval process."

"The voters of Jefferson County overwhelmingly expressed their support for this amendment," Clemons said. "They recognize, like I do, that our county will benefit from the positive economic impact Downstream Development Authority will provide to us. Downstream has longstanding ties to the state and to the community, and I am glad to be able to offer my support for its application."

Downstream currently operates two casinos, which are in Oklahoma.

"It has long been our goal to energize Pine Bluff and Jefferson County through a significant economic investment," Berrey said. "As the original homeland for the Quapaw Nation, we believe we have an obligation to the region to be good corporate citizens. This casino resort will be a source of pride for the community. It will create hundreds of jobs and generate millions of dollars in taxes that will help improve the city's and county’s infrastructure and quality of life."

Voters passed an amendment in November to require licenses for four counties in Arkansas, including Jefferson County. The amendment also protects local control and provides that local leaders may select who applies for a license in their community.

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