Arkansas is close to welcoming its first sports betting property, though no timeline has been given and some worry “sooner” may turn out to be “later”.
Arkansas Sports Betting: Better Late…
In the post-PASPA world, things have quickly got interesting. States rejoiced when the federal ban was struck down in May, 2018, allowing states to actively pursue a legal sports betting industry. DraftKings, FanDuel, William Hill, and recently bet365, all have pounced at the idea and an opportunity to bring their offer to the United States.
Now, Arkansas is trying to join the family of states where sports betting is in fact a legal pastime. One of the Bear State’s businesses, Southland Gaming & Racing in West Memphis has been putting up slogans, welcoming customers.
Coming soon to West Memphis. pic.twitter.com/6EHKYHxhXX
— Brad Pee (@BradPee) March 9, 2019
One question comes up looking at the advertisement, though. How soon is “coming soon!”? Southland Gaming includes Greyhound Racing, but there’s no mention of sports betting browsing throughout their website.
Is Arkansas Far from Legalizing Sports Betting?
In February, the Arkansas Racing Commission agreed on a 314-point draft bill that would see the legalization of sports betting in the state. This came after in November, 2018, voters took to the ballot boxes and threw their support behind sports betting.
There’s a lot that needs to be done. Even though public consent has been given, regulators will most likely not give the go-ahead until June when the Wire Act revised Opinion will be enforced, making for an interesting coincidence.
The proposal will also introduce licensing fees to the tune of $250,000, which is a reasonable amount. West Virginia’s on its way to becoming a fully legalized state when it comes to online gambling, and the small 2-million-odd state just decide to price iGaming license for the same amount.
There has been some form of opposition coming mostly from colleges worried that the fairness of contests can be damaged by introducing sports betting options. A similar sentiment was expressed by Major League Basketball (MLB) nationwide:
No one can deny the tremendous financial and reputational harm that a sports betting scandal would cause to our state universities and student athletes, along with millions of fans, alumni and donors who support them. – Official College Letter Sent to Arkansas Racing Commission
Opportunities to turn a quick buck seem tempting enough, prompting the Commission to recommend that any and all bets placed on college contests will be done in person at a casino. This would help investigation on the off chance that foul play is suspected.
Concerns have been voiced by organizations such as the NCAA in anticipation of the biggest college sporting events, March Madness. The idea of undermining sporting contests has been a persistent one, but there has been very little evidence to support it.
When PASPA was first struck down every major sports body in the United States hurried to clamor for an integrity fee, but none could offer justifiable plans of action that would actually see the money prevent attempts at fraud or even help fight it for that matter.
With time, the majority has dismissed the idea. Today’s hint that Arkansas might be getting sports betting “very soon” is refreshing, but the question remains…