AK Commission Approves Sports Betting Rules, Casinos Can Now Create Apps

Arkansas Approves Sports Betting Rules

  • Last Week, the Arkansas Racing Commission Approved Digital Sports Wagering Rules
  • Sportsbooks Opposed to Rules Argue 51% Profit Sharing Rule Unfair
  • New Rules Allow Local Casinos to Create Mobile Sports Betting Apps

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Last Week, the Arkansas Racing Commission Approved Digital Sports Wagering Rules

Since July 2019, Arkansas bettors have been legally placing in-person wagers at state casinos via ticket windows and kiosks, but now it looks like those same gamblers will be able to place bets from anywhere in the state using mobile apps, all in time for the NFL’s Super Bowl.

The Arkansas Racing Commission (ARC) held a meeting last Thursday to consider rules to launch mobile sports betting market in the state, and after some time the group gave their unanimous approval to a set of guidelines that will hopefully lead to an early February launch.

The news was announced by Arkansas News journalist Caleb Taylor, who shared the news of the ARC’s decision on Twitter:

Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration spokesperson Scott Hardin has told the media that now a state legislative committee will review those approved rules at a late January meeting which means mobile betting could happen before the Super Bowl early next month.

These new rules would allow each sportsbook to control two online skins and set the profit-sharing rate with casinos at 51%, that a low number of skins and a high rate causing pushback from leading operators.

Sportsbooks Opposed to Rules Argue 51% Profit Sharing Rule Unfair

Sportsbook operators in other states are used to sharing between 5% and 15% of the profits with their partners, while in Arkansas that rate would be 51%, a number that operators argued was too high, though that is the same rate as what is paid in the state of New York.

Former Arkansas lawmaker John Burris told those assembled at the ARC meeting that his clients “can’t do business in Aransas” with that 51% profit sharing rate, but the rules were passed regardless of those objections and that will be the working rate.

Another point of contention was the two skin rule which allows each sportsbook to only operate two mobile skins, a number considered too low by Burris and others, who told the group it makes more financial and business sense to give Natural State gamblers more choices:

Every dollar of sports betting revenue will pay the AR tax, no matter the platform. So to maximize tax dollars, we need to maximize participation. To maximize participation, we need the brands consumers play. Anything less keeps it underground and untaxed.

New Rules Allow Local Casinos to Create Mobile Sports Betting Apps

Another rule just approved by the ARC allows for local Arkansas casinos to create their own sports betting apps, with three commercial casinos now operating in the state:

  • Saracen Casino in Pine Buff
  • Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort
  • Southland Casino Racing

A fourth hotel casino in Arkansas has also been approved but it has yet to be built.

Chief market officer at Saracen, Carlton Saffa, told the media that once the state legislative committee reviews and approves those rules his casino’s new sports betting app will be launched in time for the Super Bowl happening on Sunday, February 6.

Check back for all the latest news and updates on this ongoing story.

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Mike Lukas

Expert on NFL

Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]