Legal mobile sports betting apps have finally made their way to Arkansas after several years of bipartisan negotiations. The state has prioritized a slow and steady launch which, so far, has worked in their favor.
The Road To Mobile Betting
Arkansas’ retail sportsbooks opened their doors to the public in July of 2019, giving the state a huge head start in the race to develop a fully-fledged gambling infrastructure.
Still, pro-betting lawmakers had a hard time convincing their colleagues to take the next step. Another three years passed before the state legislature legalized Arkansas’ online sports betting options.
Arkansas is still incredibly early on in its sportsbook run. But, despite being one of the smaller legal sports betting states, Arkansas’ unique revenue framework has put domestic operators under a national spotlight.
When drafting the state’s mobile sports betting legislation, lawmakers detailed specific measures to protect and prioritize local casinos.
National Focus On Revenue-Sharing
Where, in other states, revenue negotiations are sorted out privately between casinos and national sportsbook conglomerates, Arkansas has already predetermined revenue shared across the board.
As it stands, participating casinos will keep 51% of all state sports betting revenue. Arkansas will collect 13% of these revenues until a given sportsbook surpasses the $150 million mark. Then, tax collection gets boosted to 20%.
The state’s legislation leaves the actual online sportsbook with approximately 29-36% of total earnings from wagers. But, aside from corporate grievances, most of the state’s residents seem to be satisfied with the deal.
Arkansas’ Ongoing Launch
Right now, there are two domestic online sportsbooks available in Arkansas. The first is owned by Southland Casino Racing. Only having launched in May, the site has several restrictions and is available exclusively via desktop.
Nonetheless, Southland has been greeted with positive feedback from local bettors. Moreover, the company has had no issue with engagement—especially having opened on the heels of the Stanley Cup and NBA Finals betting season.
Glen White, a spokesperson for Delaware North, told reporters that the launch has been an overall success. He says,
“We are very pleased with the performance of our Arkansas Betly sportsbook offerings so far…With only a few months under our belt, we are seeing positive growth — growth that is sustainable and doesn’t inflate the market with loss-leading promotions and bonuses that oftentimes come with the out-of-state national brands.”
Southland is still hammering out the details for mobile capabilities. The company still has to sort out issues with banking and identity verification before it can move forward.
The Deal With Diversity
Unfortunately for Southland, its reign over the digital sportsbook market didn’t last very long.
Saracen Casino Resort launched its mobile betting app in May. Meanwhile, a team at the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort is actively working to develop mobile gaming options.
Even so, three sportsbook operators can hardly be considered a variety. And that isn’t expected to change. Major operators like DraftKings and FanDuel were scared away from Arkansas when lawmakers passed the revenue-sharing deal.
Nonetheless, patrons in Arkansas can access an enormous range of safe and legal online betting sites when they wager offshore.
Here at SBL, you can find all of the information needed to get started.
Source: Sports Handle