Community Support

In considering what sort of support to offer, we wanted to come up with a comprehensive package that would benefit the community in a variety of ways. We felt it was important to present something that allows area residents to decide what the greatest needs and best uses of funds are, rather than our trying to decide this for the community. We looked at a variety of approaches. For example, one approach might be to provide the funding to local governments; another approach might be to provide funding to a charitable organization. In terms of timing, one approach might be to provide for a large up-front payment; another approach might be to provide for an annuity, so that funds are made available each and every year over the course of our operations.

We decided to go with “all of the above.” Accordingly, it is our privilege to offer a $113.7-million community support package*, with 4.1% of net gaming revenues being dedicated to Pope County, and comprised of the following components:

  • An up-front mitigation and development fee in the amount of $18 million, to be shared among the Pope County government, the City of Russellville and other municipal entities, with the allocation to be agreed upon by local officials

  • 2.35% of annual net gaming revenues, projected at $2.74 million (8 per year) to be divided among Pope County and the City of Russellville as local officials may agree

  • 1.75% of annual net gaming revenues, projected at $2.049 million per year, dedicated to a charitable foundation to be administered by Pope County residents for the benefit of local charities and causes (as further described below)

  • A variety of other community support measures, such as an Arkansas First buying program; programs to encourage visitation to other businesses in Pope County; and construction of offices for local law enforcement on the premises of Hard Rock Arkansas

Further stakeholders could be designated to represent public interests such as public education, health care, veterans’ affairs, law enforcement, arts and entertainment, and nature and conservation, as some examples. These stakeholders could be represented by prominent institutions in the county who are involved in these interests. While these are initial ideas, we feel it would be presumptuous for us to dictate this stakeholder list in our Proposal. We would be interested in discussing the stakeholder composition in more detail with Pope County residents. The exact list of “stakeholders” having the right to appoint directors to this foundation could be laid in a county support letter. Our part will be to provide the funding for projects and services that the community desires.


Hard Rock Arkansas will dedicate 1.75% of its annual net gaming revenues10 for the funding of a charitable foundation to be administered by local officials and stakeholders. Based on Union Gaming's projection of $134 million in gaming revenues, this would translate to $2.04 million every year. Our proposal is to let the community direct how these dollars will be spent on a year-to-year basis, based on what local residents feel the greatest needs and priorities are. Under our proposal, the Pope County Charitable Foundation would be directly governed by a board of directors serving staggered three-year terms, with each director to be appointed, in turn, by a designated community “stakeholder.” This allows the directors to act independently of the stakeholders appointing them, who may be elected officials in many cases.


We will pledge to buy from Arkansas vendors and suppliers whenever possible. Our internal purchasing policy will be to always try to develop Arkansas bidders on bid lists, and to go with the in-state bid unless pricing, goods or services from the out-of-state bidder is superior, or it is a specialized source situation. For the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Sioux City, our Iowa-first program resulted in in-state purchases of more than 95% in 2018.


The Hard Rock Arkansas will offer a well-established customer rewards programs, offering merchandise and discounts to patrons who can earn rewards points through both gaming and non-gaming purchases.


Under this program, the community (perhaps through the Russellville Area Chamber of Commerce) could designate up to six community events per year, and we would promote them through direct e-mails to our customers living in area zip codes, and through on-property signage and other marketing means.


The River Valley Arts Center in Russellville has staged locally produced art exhibits and theatrical productions in Pope County for almost 40 years. We would turn our outdoor amphitheater over to them for one night per year for a theatrical production of their choice.


Arkansas Tech University in Russellville offers a hospitality administration program. We would offer a summer internship each year to a student in this program.

I have never been as impressed...

  • I can honestly say in my 20+ years of banking to the gaming industry, I have never been as impressed with a performance as I was with Bill Warner and his entire team at Warner Gaming … In my opinion [Bill Warner] was the single most vital factor in our completion of the successful culmination of the financial transaction.
    Ms. Valerie Red-Horse