Arkansas residents ushered the New Year with great news; mobile sports betting looks to be nearing closer in the state. This comes following the approval from the Arkansas Racing Commission, giving way for mobile and online sports betting to launch by the Super Bowl.
The unanimous vote to pave the way for Arkansas off-casino digital sports betting happened on Thursday last week. It was a lengthy meeting whose discussion concluded by allowing casinos to earn 51 percent of the net revenue from sports betting.
A news journalist, Caleb Taylor, reported the news on his Twitter account.
Taylor reported that the unanimous vote allowed betting off casino premises as long as the casinos got the most of the net revenue.
40/29 News cited Scott Hardin’s remark about the state having a legislative committee reviewing the rules this month. Scott is the spokesperson of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.
Referencing Arkansas Racing Commission’s green-light to offer mobile sports betting off casino premises, Carlton Saffa noted that his casino sports betting app would be ready by the time the Super Bowl is happening in February. Saffa is the chief market officer of Saracen Casino Resort located in Pine Bluff.
Sportsbooks Opposed 51 Percent Net Revenue for Casinos
With 51 percent net revenue benefiting casinos, the sportsbooks were unhappy about it.
Some operators, including FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, and BallyBet, opposed the rules. The sportsbooks said the profit-sharing conditions were unreasonable.
An advocacy group, Bet on Arkansas, representing these and other sportsbooks, said that the operators shared between five and 15 percent with partners.
John Burris, representing online sportsbooks, said during the Arkansas Racing Commission meeting that his clients would not do business in the state with a 51 percent profit-sharing rule in effect.
However, Saffa countered, saying that sportsbook operators in New York had accepted a 51 percent revenue share. The sportsbooks operators were also denied having four mobile skins. Instead, the Arkansas Racing Commission stuck to two-skin allowing three casinos in the state to partner with two online sportsbooks operators.
This means residents will have fewer mobile apps to choose from. The commission said that allowing sportsbooks to have more skins would increase competition and add tax money to state reserves.
Burris insisted it was crazy for the state treasury and Arkansas bettors to place obstacles before major sportsbook operators. He said that every dollar generated through sports betting would pay the Arkansas tax. He advised that it would be best to maximize tax dollars by maximizing participation by brands consumers play.
The approved rules allow local casinos to design their mobile sports betting apps. Saffa implied that the national sportsbook operators were first class; thus, their mobile platforms would not match those created by Arkansas casinos.
Arkansas has three commercial casinos: Saracen, Southland Casino Racing, and Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort. There is a fourth hotel-casino that is yet to be built.
Voters approved sports betting in Arkansas in November 2018. This allowed bettors to place bets in the casino through kiosks and ticket windows.
The first sports bet was placed at Oaklawn in July 2021, with the total wagered amount being over $104 million, creating $1.9 million in tax revenue.
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