Arkansas became the ninth state to officially offer legal sports betting on Monday. After gaining approval from the Arkansas State Racing Commission, Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort began accepting bets on July 1, making them the first, and so far only, place in Arkansas to legally place a sports bet.
Oaklawn general manager Wayne Smith made the state’s first legal wager on Monday. Smith bet $5 on the Dallas Cowboys (-7.5) to beat the New York Giants in Week 1 of the NFL season.
“We’re excited to now be offering sports wagering. It’s a new level of entertainment for our guests,” said Smith.
In November of 2018, residents in Arkansas approved an expansion on casino gaming in the state. This included legal sports betting. Thanks to this approval, four casinos in the state will receive the licensing necessary to operate sports betting legally. Oaklawn is currently in the process of a $100 million expansion that will include a new sportsbook lounge. Self-service betting kiosks will also be added throughout the casino as well.
Mobile On The Way
Oaklawn is looking to add mobile sports betting as a platform very soon. The racetrack currently offers mobile betting for its horse and dog races, so it shouldn’t take too long for them to incorporate sports betting into the mix.
Oaklawn has partnered up with SBTech as its supplier for its sportsbook. SBTech is rumored to be in the process of being purchased by DraftKings, so there is a possibility we see a DraftKings sportsbook at Oaklawn at some point.
The state will tax sports betting at a rate of 13 percent for the first $150 million in net casino receipts and 20 percent on net receipts above $150 million.
More Arkansas sportsbooks are expected to launch soon. Southland Park Gaming in West Memphis was expected to be the first to launch as of June, but issues have caused a bit of a delay. Southland is owned by Delaware North, the company that owns the BetLucky app and has had issues with its supplier that caused a shutdown of its product in West Virginia.
Love Thy Neighbor
Now that Arkansas has joined the legal sports betting world, they have six neighboring states that they could see sports betting action from. Mississippi already has legal sports betting, but mobile is restricted to on casino property only, which limits its purpose. Once Arkansas gets mobile sports betting operation in its borders, The Natural State could possibly see bettors from Mississippi as well.
Of Arkansas’ six bordering states, Tennessee is the only other one that has legal sports betting on the books. Tennessee is a mobile-only state, and while they can officially offer sports betting as of July 1 as well, it appears it will be a little longer before sports betting begins in The Volunteer State.
It may not become the biggest market in the country, but Arkansas will certainly get some help from stubborn neighboring states like Texas and Louisiana. The location is nice for Arkansas to take advantage of not only its residents but other states’ residents as well.