A two-day trip in June turned out to be an awesome visit to a Mid-South gem.
Just a mere 7 1/2 miles (13 minutes) from Memphis (off Interstates 55 and 40), Southland Casino Hotel in West Memphis, Ark., completed a $320 million dollar expansion in December 2022. It features an extraordinary 20-story hotel with 300 rooms, 12 penthouse suites, a 113,000-square-foot gaming floor and a variety of bars and restaurants.
There is literally something for everyone here (including Arkansas sports betting) and as a first-time visitor, I was awed by the hospitality and comfort I felt as soon as I walked through the doors.
Part of the Delaware North Companies family, which operates and manages a number of gaming locations throughout the world, including Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack (Farmington, N.Y.), Mardi Gras Casino & Resort (Cross Lanes, W.Va.) and Miami Valley Gaming (Lebanon, Ohio) to name a few, not only is the expansion of Southland Casino important to the region, but it’s also a game-changer.
Besides Memphis, take a look at the nine cities within a five-hour drive or less from Southland: Little Rock; Oxford/Jackson, Miss.; Huntsville/Birmingham, Ala.; Nashville; St. Louis/Springfield; and Evansville, Ind.
They draw from everywhere and most importantly, they cater to the individual customer as well. Why?
There are 20 casinos within 173.5 miles of Southland that span over five states (although Arkansas betting promos do give the casino an advantage over the non-wagering states of Mississippi and Missouri).
A new property and an ever-changing way of doing things is important to get the customer not only to feel welcome but to come back. The property staff does a great job of doing that as the stay-experience draws you in.
The casino floor has that fresh new feel to it, and it should. The gaming floor covers 96,200 square feet (2 1/2 football fields long) with 2,300 slot machines, 50 live table games and a high-limit gaming room.
Just off the floor are food and beverage options galore, featuring three new bars and the 130-seat Ignite Steakhouse. The food is beyond excellent, and the service is exceptional. The Charred Oak Bourbon Bar is in the hotel registration area and is perfect for that late-night drink and conversation (for two nights, it was a go to!).
But the appetite highlight was The Kitchens, which is a buffet experience that can seat 450 people. Everything you can possibly want food wise is here on a daily and nightly basis, with seven open kitchens where they do the cooking and preparation right in front of you. Pasta to pizza, Southern food to seafood, desserts to drinks is all right here in one spot.
Southland also has a Betly retail sportsbook and lounge (opened in March 2022) and a simulcasting horse wagering area on the racing mezzanine of the former Southland Greyhound Park, adjacent to the casino and hotel. Live greyhound racing ended at the complex on Dec. 31, 2022, after a 66-year run.
Sports betting in Arkansas is conducted by the three casinos in the state. There is no BetMGM Arkansas or other national brands.
Southland was the first Arkansas casino to offer mobile betting when it became legal in the spring of 2022 and the first to have an Apple app.
But the cherry on top of the visit was the stay at the property's new hotel. The 20-story, 300 room showcase is the tallest building in Arkansas (outside of Little Rock). It features 72 corner suites plus 12 penthouse suites with views of downtown Memphis.
Overlooking the greyhound track, my room was spacious and comfortable with every amenity one could want or need.
The two-day adventure also brought us to the home of Elvis Presley (Graceland), Beale Street to experience the Memphis music and eats scene (I had no idea the FedExForum — the Memphis Grizzlies home arena — was a street over from Beale in the heart of downtown) and a tour of the National Civil Rights Museum built around the former Lorraine Motel, which was the site of the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. (a must-see and a solemn experience indeed).
A repeat visit for all above is a must.
Take Advantage of Southland Casino Offers
Get 20% off your stay at Southland Casino Hotel with the code FAM23. The offer is valid Sundays through Thursdays until Aug. 31. Must be 21 or older. Other restrictions may apply. The deal also includes a $15 food credit.