New Competition for Oaklawn Park in Arkansas?

Competition is coming for Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs.

Of course, it’s always faced competitors in the form of other thoroughbred racetracks and then, later, in the form of the electronic “games of skill” also offered by Southland Park (now Southland Casino Racing) in West Memphis, as well as the myriad other ways in which people spend money to entertain themselves.

But with the opening of the Saracen Annex in Pine Bluff, to be joined later this year by the full-fledged Saracen Casino Resort, Oaklawn faces head-to-head competition in its own backyard.

Gaming industry experts told our Mark Friedman that Arkansas’ gambling market probably wasn’t yet saturated. But the Saracen Annex, which opened for business in late September, already appears to be cutting into Oaklawn’s terminal and slot machine wagers, which fell 15.7% in the fourth quarter of 2019, compared with the same period in 2018.

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