The Arkansas Racing Commission (ARC) will be voting on November 18 on a change to its rule that would allow people to wager on live sporting events using their smartphones. The commission regulates gambling in Arkansas.
Arkansas Could See Mobile Sports Betting Next Year
Mobile sports betting in Arkansas could begin if the rule changes are approved as expected, according to ARC spokesperson Scott Hardin. The rule change needs to be published online for 30 days. It also has to go through a public review process. The joint legislative Rules Committee would then approve the revised rule and sign off from Governor Asa Hutchinson.
Even though the legislature has not yet met, the joint Rules Committee regularly meets in Little Rock to address various issues throughout each year. The ACR, which consists of seven members, is expected to approve an endorsement for mobile sports betting.
The governor stated that he supports mobile gambling if the Racing Commission applies safeguards such as geofencing, which will limit betting to approved statewide boundaries. Hutchinson adds that Arkansas could compete with nearby states like Louisiana and Tennessee by offering mobile betting.
Bordering States Already Going Mobile
Louisiana has now legalized mobile sports betting. It will begin to operate once licensed companies, such as DraftKings and FanDuel that offer apps for sports-betting, have been vetted.
Ronnie Johns from the state Gaming Control Board stated that the process should be complete by early next year. At ticket windows, sports betting began last week in four Louisiana hotel-casinos.
Although Tennessee does have no commercial casinos, legalized mobile sports betting was established in the Volunteer State in November 2020. The neighboring state of Mississippi is expected to address mobile sports betting in the legislative session that starts in January at Jackson’s Capitol.
Mobile sports betting in Mississippi is permitted at casinos. However, only one Mississippi casino, the Gold Strike, a property of MGM Resorts, is authorized for that type of betting, according to Jay McDaniel from the Mississippi Gaming Commission. Tunica lies on the Mississippi River, approximately 40 miles south of Memphis, TN.
Arkansas also allows on-site mobile betting. However, none of Arkansas’ three commercial casinos offer such a service.
Hadin stated that the ARC would permit online betting operators to partner with casinos in Arkansas to allow offsite mobile sports betting. Arkansas has three casinos, with two located in the middle of the state. Oaklawn Casino Resort, Hot Springs, is about an hour from centrally located Little Rock.
Oaklawn has become the only legal casino within the area. The resort also has a well-known horse track, which hosts the Arkansas Derby every year. It’s considered an important prelude to the Triple Crown races.
Saracen Casino Resort is located in Pine Bluff, about 45 minutes north of Little Rock. Saracen, like other Arkansas casinos, offers Las Vegas-style tables and a sportsbook where bettors can place in-person bets.
Russellville, in northern Indiana, has a fourth casino that has been approved by the state. But its launch is currently being held up in court.