Oaklawn will reopen its Hot Springs casino at 9 a.m. Monday under state guidelines that limit attendance to a third of capacity and require temperature checks and masks for customers. Smoking will not be allowed.

KTHV, in announcing the opening following a closure order at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, listed the guidelines:

  • Adjusted casino hours will be 9 a.m. to 3 a.m., Sun-Thu and 9 a.m. to 5 a.m., Fri-Sat.

  • The casino will operate at 33% of facility capacity.

  • There will only be one entrance for guests, which will be the main/front casino entrance.

  • All guests and team members will be required to have non-invasive temperature checks as they enter the facility. Anyone presenting a temp at/over 100 degrees Fahrenheit will not be permitted inside the building.

  • Guests will be asked to show ID upon entering should contact tracing be required.

  • Guests will be required to wear masks at all times.

  • Team members will wear masks at all times.

  • Shuttle service will continue with limitations on number of guests per shuttle.

  • Guests will be limited to every other slot machine to ensure social distancing.

  • Live blackjack games limited to every other seat and no more than three players per table.

  • Live craps limited to three players per side of each table.

  • Live roulette will not be opened at this time.

  • Smoking will not be allowed anywhere inside the facility, including the casino.

UPDATE: Southland in West Memphis has now announced its plans to reopen Monday, with similar health guidelines in place. There will be no table games, dog racing or sports betting. And no buffet.

Here’s Southland’s plan for reopening.


The Saracen casino in Pine Bluff is also in the process of having its operating protocol reviewed by the Health Department and can be expected to reopen on Monday if cleared.

UPDATE II: It developed at the governor’s daily coronavirus briefing that the Health Department hasn’t issued final approval of casino reopening.


Health Director Nate Smith said all three casinos had taken the task “very seriously” and submitted “very detailed measures” to make the casinos as safe and clean as possible. “Nothing is risk-free,” he added. “We’ll continue to work with them on a final version.” He said he’d signed off on none yet, but was “very impressed” with earlier drafts.

UPDATE III: From John L Berrey, chairman of Saracen Development and Chairman Quapaw Nation:

“Last week we provided the state with an extensive plan, focusing on guest and team member safety.  The response we’ve received from Secretary Smith and his team has been positive; as a result of our dialogue we’ve extended our plan to include additional protocols.  As of Wednesday afternoon we have not received final approval of our plan, but we are confident we can meet the expectations of state officials and the public.”
“Should our plan be approved by the state, we would open under our protocols on May 18