The state of Arkansas is officially open for business for bettors wanting to place a wager on their favorite sports teams. Monday marked the first official day that sports betting went live in the state of Arkansas, making it the ninth state to offer sports betting throughout the state. Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs, Ark., was the site of the first official bet made, and Wayne Smith was the man that placed the first wager. Smith is the general manager at the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort, which is expected to be one of the top betting spots in the state of Arkansas.
Arkansas has been working on getting sports betting up and running since a 54-46 vote in November approved a constitutional amendment. The amendment allowed for casinos to be opened up in four counties throughout the state.
Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort was approved by the Arkansas Racing Commission on June 14 to start sports betting operations at their facility. They are currently the only brick and mortar location that is able to take bets in the state of Arkansas, and online betting is not yet legal, or up and running.
The casino has tellers on-site from 10 am to 10 pm to help bettors place wagers, but there are betting kiosks that are in operation as long as the casino is open. Since Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort was unfamiliar with the sports betting industry, they chose to partner with SBTech to help get their operation up and running. There is a hope that online wagering will be added in the near future, but another law would have to be passed before Oaklawn can begin to work on getting that up and running.
More To Come
Casinos in Pope and Jefferson counties have also been approved to offer sports betting at their facilities, but so far no application has been submitted. Southland Gaming and Racing in West Memphis has told their patrons that sports betting is coming soon, but they also have yet to submit an application to the Arkansas Racing Commission.
The legal age to visit a casino in the state of Arkansas is 21, and that same age is required to place a bet on sports. One of the biggest reasons that online/mobile wagering hasn’t really been discussed in the state is because some lawmakers are worried about the ability of some underage gambling to take place.
Casinos in Arkansas have previously been taxed at a rate of 18 percent by the state, but that number is going to change as sports betting is now legal. Any casino operating a sportsbook will be taxed at a rate of 13 percent for the first $150 million of revenue, and then 20 percent for all revenue after that.
A licensing fee of $250,000 would need to be paid before any casino can offer sports betting. Some other states have outlawed betting on collegiate events, but Arkansas will allow bets to be placed on collegiate events taking place in the state.
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