Arkansas Mobile Sports Betting Expected To Top $500 Million in 2024

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Arkansas Razorbacks fans cheer during the first half of the 2022 Outback Bowl against the Penn State Nittany Lionsat Raymond James Stadium on January 01, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. Julio Aguilar/Getty Images/AFP

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration predicts that sports wagers will reach $500 million in 2024, its second full year of legalized mobile sports betting.

That’s up from the $404 million it earned in 2023. According to Scott Hardin, the Racing Commission Spokesperson, Arkansans are wagering approximately $1.55 million per day on sports through the state’s three casino apps. The surge in sports wagers is primarily driven by mobile betting at top-rated sportsbooks.

Arkansas collected around $5 million in taxes last year, benefiting the state, cities and counties hosting these casinos. “The state gets a healthy portion of it. The city and county that are home to these casinos get a significant portion of that. And then lastly, there’s a horse racing fund on the live purse. So the purses at Oaklawn actually increased as a result of the state revenue,” Hardin explained.

Additionally, in 2023, Arkansas’s three casinos reported a record total win of nearly $687 million, surpassing the previous year’s total. Another reason experts anticipate a strong 2024 for the state’s gambling industry.

A Safer Way To Bet

Hardin also says that despite the success of mobile betting, it’s important to point out that the industry remains highly regulated. “We want to be sure Arkansans understand the only way to place a legal sports wager in Arkansas, is at one of the state’s casinos or through their apps. Any other option is not legal,” he described.

Carlton Saffa, from Saracen Casino, emphasized that this is one of the reasons why Saracen plans to launch an ‘iGaming’ app, allowing users to play casino games legally on their phones. The racing commission ultimately decides whether to allow “iGaming.” Currently, Saracen patiently awaits the commission’s readiness to engage in that conversation.

Arkansas Casinos Play Pivotal Role

All three Arkansas casinos have seen significant developments in sports betting. In addition to Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff, there’s Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs and Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis, all of which have launched mobile versions of their sportsbooks.

These platforms allow Arkansas residents and guests (who are 21 and over) to safely place sports bets from anywhere within the state. Even without popular sportsbook apps like DraftKings or FanDuel, Arkansas remains committed to providing a secure and regulated environment for bettors.

Another Casino To Be Added

Despite all of the early success, the state continues to explore opportunities for growth in this exciting industry. It’s another sign that gambling can be viewed as a growing industry in Arkansas.

The Arkansas Racing Commission is currently in the process of adding a new casino to the state. Despite the presence of three existing casinos, there remains an available fourth license within Arkansas. Recently, the Commission announced a 30-day application period specifically for the state’s final casino license, with a focus on Pope County. Both digital and paper applications must be submitted by June 11.

Arkansas sports betting has undergone a remarkable evolution since the arrival of mobile betting. And it appears to be here to stay.