Arkansas could be just days away from the launch of mobile sports betting. The final rules governing the segment have now been approved, and the waiting game begins. By law, there’s a 10-day waiting period that has to be overcome. This means, as long as there aren’t any unexpected legal challenges, mobile sports betting in the state will grab hold on March 4. That’s only shortly before March Madness, the annual college men’s basketball tournament in the NCAA.
Mobile Sports Betting Advances in Arkansas
Last week, the Arkansas Joint Budget Committee approved four rules to guide sports wagering that were previously approved by a subcommittee. A fifth rule was needed for mobile betting to be allowed to start. It found its place with the Joint Budget Committee yesterday.
Now that it has been approved, the rules will be filed with the office of the secretary of state for 10 business days. The launch of mobile betting would then depend on whether Arkansas casinos can provide sports betting apps in time for March Madness. These casinos can also work with national online bookmakers.
This rule allows local casinos to share 51% of profits when they partner with national betting sites, such as DraftKings. These bookmakers typically share 5-15%. However, so far, none of the major sports betting brands has given an indication that it will enter the market immediately.
Mobile Needed in Arkansas
Arkansas does not offer off-site betting on sports. However, bettors can place wagers in person at the three state casinos, Saracen Casino Resort at Pine Bluff, Oaklawn Casino Resort at Hot Springs and Southland Casino Racing at West Memphis. This limitation prevents Arkansas from having a robust sports betting market.
These casinos took in an estimated $8.77 million in sports wagers in January, according to Arkansas Racing Commission figures. This compares to December’s $7.79-million handle.
They also made $1.18 million in sports betting revenue last month, after winning bettors had been paid. That’s up from just $47,599 one month earlier. However, the figure is low compared to what all other states are able to produce.
As a precursor to March Madness, the Southeast Conference (SEC) will hold its tournament starting March 9. It’s important for mobile to arrive before then, since the Arkansas Razorbacks are among the top teams in the conference.
The SEC tournament will conclude on March 13. March Madness will follow, beginning March 13. The latter runs until April 4.