Arkansas Could Soon Consider Legalizing Mobile Sports BettingArkansas
Lawmakers in Arkansas are considering a change to their sports betting laws that could help set the state apart in the region.
Currently, mobile sports betting is not allowed in Arkansas, but that could all change if the Arkansas Racing Commission decides to move forward with a plan that some people have proposed.
The only other state bordering Arkansas that allows mobile sports betting is Tennessee, so offering mobile sports betting could help Arkansas bring in a lot of extra money.
The Current Laws in Arkansas
Voters in Arkansas first approved legal sports betting in the state back in November 2018. That was only six months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the PASPA, which before had prohibited states from offering in sports betting.
In essence, Arkansas was among the first wave of states to legalize sports gambling. It took another eight months before the first legal sports wager was accepted in the state, in July of 2019, but it’s been very popular and highly impactful since then.
In total, Arkansas has brought in a $86 million in sports wagers in the state. That’s especially impressive considering that sports wagering is only legal at land-based casinos.
Right now, bettors can only place a sports wager at three casinos — Oaklawn, Saracen and Southland. That can be a far drive for a lot of residents in the state.
People who live in Fayetteville (in the northwest corner of the state) or Greenville (in the southeast corner), for example, have to drive 3.5 hours just to get to a casino in Arkansas.
As a result, many people have been pushing for Arkansas to expand their sports betting offerings to allow for mobile wagering. There are plenty of precedents in place in other states that Arkansas can follow. States such as New Jersey and Nevada have intricate, in-depth mobile sportsbook offerings that Arkansas could model its offerings after.
What’s great for Arkansas is that they’re in a prime position to not only increase their sports wagering revenue from in-state residents, but also from residents of other states.
People who live near the Arkansas border in Mississippi might choose to drive into Arkansas to place a mobile sports bet rather than drive long distances to a land-based casino. Residents in nearby Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas may choose to do the same — since sports betting isn’t legal in any form in any of those three states.
Changes Are Under Consideration
Officials with the Arkansas Racing Commission have indicated that they are willing to at least listen to the possibility of offering mobile sports wagering in the state. That’s a huge step and would be a big change in how they operate.
One of the biggest concerns that lawmakers in the state have is putting protections in place to ensure that kids aren’t allowed to gamble on sports. That shouldn’t be hard, though, as there are age verification steps the state and casinos can take to ensure only of-age adults wager on sports online.
The officials who are familiar with the situation said that even if they decide to expand the law to offer mobile sports wagering, it wouldn’t happen until February at the earliest. That could be in time for the biggest sporting event of the year — the NFL’s Super Bowl.
Here’s to hoping Arkansas officials move forward with the idea of offering mobile sports wagering in the state.