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Last Thursday, the Arkansas Racing Commission shared their plans to publish the proposed rule changes that, if approved, would open a mobile sports betting market in the state, a market that would join the retail sports betting operation that has been legal there since 2018.
The in-person sports betting market in Arkansas runs out of the three casinos currently operating in the state – Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff, Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis, and Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs, with a fourth venue, the Legends Resort and Casino in Pope County, still in the initial stages of development.
The proposed ruled changes would allow each casino licensee to provide up to two individually branded online sports platforms, each with a mobile app, with every step of the process needing the approval of the Racing Commission before it can be put into effect.
Another part of the proposal would allow each casino licensee to provide an individually branded online sports pool platform, but that element has drawn some pushback, seen by some as an attempt to “dictate business-to-business arrangements on a revenue share agreement.”
Now the public has been given a chance to weigh in.
One reason the Arkansas Racing Commission is publishing these proposed rule changes on its website is to give the public thirty days to comment and leave their feedback on the issues.
The rule changes will be posted at the Racing Commission’s website and will “soon” be widely available to Arkansas residents desiring to weigh in on the topic of online sports betting in their state.
The 30-day public comment period is meant to be a lead-up to the next commission meeting that is scheduled for December 30 in Little Rock.
If at that meeting commissioners approve the proposed rule changes, then a state legislative committee would have to give the changes their final approval before online wagering ever becomes legal in the Land of Opportunity.
That would certainly add to an already lucrative operation.
What Arkansas lawmakers have been forced to acknowledge is that sports betting already existed in the state long before it was officially made legal, with bettors simply using illegal bookies and offshore sportsbooks to make their wagers, a risky yet profitable business.
It made sense to legalize, regulate, and tax that existing revenue stream, and ever since the first in-person sports wager was made in the Natural State back in July 2019, bettors have generated a $95.7 million handle that has resulted in $83.2 million in payouts.
So far that has equated to about $1.74 million in state revenue, a relatively low amount compared with what was expected, but a new sports betting market takes time to become profitable because of startup costs and giveaways meant to build up a customer base.
Keep checking back for the latest news and updates on Arkansas’ gradual journey towards legal online sports betting.
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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]More info on Mike Lukas
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