Back in March of 2007, David Koon wrote a nice cover piece for us about the developing "racino" at Oaklawn, in Hot Springs, and about how similar venues were the wave of the future.
As relatively humble as it is, even what Oaklawn has is surely a sign of things to come. As at most casinos, the parlor at Oaklawn is all flash, lit mostly by neon. Even when the machines pay — though they make the hollow, metallic, chunka-chunka-chunka noise of coins dropping into the tray — all you really get is a redeemable piece of paper. The air is filtered and chilled. Silent attendants move among the 300 or so players on hand, swabbing down empty stools with cleanser. Among them circulate the drink girls, with their trays and hoochie-mama dresses. Among them sit the players, staring into spinning rolls or hands of virtual cards like they’re looking for The Answer.
Well, Oaklawn exteneded that gambling facility and opened its doors on Wednesday. According to the Sentinel Record, the track now offers 650 "gaming positions," up from 522. The expansion is about to begin its second phase which will allow up to 1,100 money-taking machines.