Arkansas’ gaming regulators have to hammer out a few critical details before authorizing a statewide mobile sportsbook launch. Fortunately for residents, the kickoff could happen in a matter of days.
One Step Closer To Launch
On Thursday, the Joint Budget Administrative Rule Review Subcommittee voted to approve the state’s mobile gaming framework. The vote came after two days of discussion.
Several committee members found the guidelines to be controversial. According to the document, Arkansas’ sports betting revenues would be divided as such:
- Casinos keep 51% of all profits
- Sportsbooks take home 29-36%
- The state collects 13%, sliding up to 20% on gaming revenue upwards of $150 million
The mobile betting rules need to be approved by the entire Joint Budget Committee for full authorization. Local sources say that the final vote is slated to take place sometime next week.
Sportsbooks Against Revenue-Sharing
A handful of major sportsbooks have spoken out in opposition to the revenue-sharing plan. Still, lawmakers hold firm that local business interests must take priority ahead of sportsbooks. So far, casinos are thrilled by the support.
“I also believe it is important enough public policy that the state should require a casino to not seed over half of its business to a third party vendor that does not have a casino license,”
Carlton Saffa, Chief Market Officer for Saracen Casino Resort
If the mobile betting framework is passed, Arkansas will become the first state to dictate the revenue-sharing agreement between national sportsbooks and in-state licensees. Moreover, this decision could have a lasting impact on future sports betting states.
When it comes to revenue-sharing, sportsbook operators typically do their own negotiating. Casinos and other licensed, in-person gaming establishments are left to fend for themselves.
In these spaces, sportsbook operators can leave the table with upwards of 85% of the final cut.
Arkansas Holds Its Own
Other states have been coy to ask sportsbooks for a bigger cut, settling for meager tax rates and giving full financial control to these gaming conglomerates.
But, as demonstrated in New York, states can demand a fair share without having to forego a successful business model.
Bettors in Arkansas should have access to mobile betting services by the time March Madness rolls around.
If you want to get in on the early betting lines, offshore sportsbooks are gonna be the place for you. Right now, the plans for Arkansas’ sports betting launch are all speculative. Earlier this week, outlets reported that sportsbooks would launch Wednesday.
Clearly, that didn’t happen.
Ultimately, bettors already missed the biggest sporting event of the year—why wait when you don’t have to?
Source: Belleville News-Democrat