CUT TO THE SLOTS: Governor Hutchinson had to manhandle some king-sized scissors.

Southland, the West Memphis casino, cut the ribbon for a casino expansion today with help from the governor.

Since casino gambling, already well underway in West Memphis, was finally officially protected by a constitutional amendment in 2018, Southland, owned by Delaware North, has embarked on a $320 million expansion. The new casino will have 2,400 gambling machines, table games, sports betting, new restaurants and a 1,400-space garage. Construction of a 20-story hotel continues.

A news release emphasized that the expansion was being undertaken solely with private money. And some significant cash from gamblers, who in March alone lost a cumulative $14.5 million on $173 million in slot machine gambling at Southland.