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They’re Off! Oaklawn Racing Casino and Resort Celebrates Grand Opening


The $108 million Oaklawn Racing Casino and Resort celebrated its grand opening in Hot Springs, AR on April 21 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Oaklawn Jockey Club President Louis Cella. 


“This is a really unique project because it has been family-owned by Oaklawn Jockey Club for about 113 years, and were fantastic to work with,” said Project Manager Chris Abbott. “Oaklawn is the first resort of its kind in Arkansas and the only 4-star hotel that overlooks a horse track in the country.” The Oaklawn project, which started in May 2019, included several unique challenges for the team — many of whom temporarily relocated to Hot Springs from Springdale and Memphis, Tulsa, Florida, and Illinois.


“We had to work around racing season and to make sure we didn’t disturb any of the 1,500 thoroughbred horses that were on-site the entire time we were working,” Chris said. “We were also working in an operational casino and facility, so we worked with the owner to minimize disruption.” The casino expansion was delivered on time in January 2020, while the team worked through the pandemic to complete the 200-room hotel, lobby, restaurant and event center and 1 million SF of parking improvements for the historic racetrack and resort.


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