Arkansas Looking At Mobile Sports Betting In 2022

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Arkansas may be taking the regulatory route to legal mobile sports betting.

The state Racing Commission announced Nov. 24 that it will consider adding statewide online and mobile sports betting to casino gaming rules at a Dec. 30, 2021 public hearing. Sports betting in Arkansas is currently only allowed on the premises of a casino. 

Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration official Scott Hardin told KARK TV on Nov. 15 that the proposed rule change would allow Arkansans anywhere in the state to place bets on their favorite sports games or teams. 

“So if you’re in Northwest Arkansas, Northeast Arkansas and don’t want to make the drive and want to place a sports wager that opens up an entirely new market,” Hardin was quoted as saying by KARK.

If the proposed rule change is approved, Hardin said Arkansans could be placing mobile sports bets in time for the 2022 Super Bowl. 

How Arkansas’ Proposed Rule Change Would Work 

Mobile accounts for proposed “online sports pool(s)” would be run through licensed casinos, with no more than two individually-branded platforms or apps allowed per casino. Only a casino with retail sports betting — which currently includes the Oaklawn, Southland, and Saracen casinos — would be allowed to operate an online sports pool in the state, under the proposed rules. 

Also, in a departure from current Arkansas gaming regulations, bettors would no longer have to register in-person at a casino for a sports betting account. 

The Arkansas Racing Commission would have the final say on how mobile sports betting would work in the Natural State — the  proposed rules would define an online sports pool as betting through “approved interactive devices accepted through a gaming system approved by the Commission.” 

Legislative approval of Arkansas mobile sports betting took a detour this year when the Arkansas General Assembly passed up a chance to legalize mobile sportsbooks in regular session. A House bill that would have allowed casinos to operate online sports betting died in committee on the session’s final day last month. 

Sports betting was legalized by Arkansas voters at the ballot in Nov. 2018. Since the first retail sports bet was placed in 2019, at least $86 million has been wagered in the state. 

About the Author
Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett

Writer and Contributor
Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region who covers legislative developments at Gaming Today. She worked as a public affairs specialist for 23 years at the Kentucky State Capitol. A University of Kentucky grad, she has been known to watch UK basketball from time to time.

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