John Berrey, longtime chairman of the Quapaw Nation that built the $350 million, 80,000-SF Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff, lost his re-election bid on Saturday to Joseph Byrd.
“Congratulations to my opponent, he is young, smart and capable and we will leave things in a much better way than we found them for him,” Berrey said in a Facebook post, according to an Arkansas Times report. “I have been honored to serve and I look forward to a great future for our Quapaw Nation! I love the O-Gah-Pah people and Tamara Reeves and all the (Business Committee) members I have served with. God bless us all.”
Arkansas Business has called the Quapaw Nation office in Oklahoma and will update this story.
Berrey was leading the tribe in 2012, when it purchased an 80-acre tract south of the Little Rock Port Industrial Park for $775,000. It was the first time the tribe had owned land in Arkansas in nearly 180 years. The land had historic significance to the Quapaw, he said at the time.
Berrey also played a key role in getting the Arkansas Constitutional amendment approved allowing casinos in the state, and he’s been leading the effort to build the Saracen Casino in Jefferson County.