Nabholz Construction Corp. of Conway and AnderCorp LLC of Gulfport, Mississippi, have formed a joint venture to oversee construction of Gulfside Casino Partnership’s River Valley Casino Resort in Pope County.
The announcement comes as Gulfside and rival casino operator Cherokee Nation Businesses LLC await a state Supreme Court decision on the fate of Gulfside’s casino license.
Gulfside has touted plans for a $254 million entertainment destination in Russellville that would include a 500-room hotel and 80,000 SF of gaming space.
“The Nabholz team is looking forward to working with AnderCorp, as well as local subcontractors and vendors, to help build this economic engine for our state,” Jake Nabholz, Nabholz’s incoming CEO, said in a news release.
“Our firm has fostered a strong relationship with AnderCorp’s president and CEO, Roy Anderson III, over the past two decades, and we anticipate a successful project because of our similar attributes and cultures.”
Gulfside said it would use local vendors for the building project. It said the casino would support 1,500 jobs and a $60.5 million payroll, as well as generate $29.5 million in annual gaming tax revenue.
Gulfside already operates the Island View Casino Resort in Gulfport, Mississippi.
Cherokee Nation Entertainment, a subsidiary of Cherokee Nation Businesses, owns and manages the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa, which features about 450 rooms.
The two companies applied for the local casino license after voters in 2018 approved Amendment 100 to the state Constitution, which allowed the expansion of casino gambling at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs and Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis, and one new casino license each in Jefferson and Pope counties.
Since then, Saracen Casino Resort, operated by the Quapaw Nation, has opened its 80,000-SF gaming floor in Pine Bluff. But Pope County’s licensing process has been contentious, with Gulfside and Cherokee Nation emerging as the final contenders.
The Arkansas Racing Commission awarded Pope County’s sole license to Gulfside last year. Legal challenges eventually wound up at the state’s high court, which rejected oral arguments and required final briefings to be filed by Aug. 9.
The court returns to session on Sept. 9.