Online sports betting was legalized in Arkansas more than a month ago, but mobile betting is still not available on an Apple app for iPhone users.
While no app is yet available on the Apple Store for Arkansas bettors, legal sports betting has been available in the state since early March.
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Bettors can visit Southland Casino Racing’s Betly Arkansas online sportsbook at www.southland.betly.com to bet on sporting events.
This site went live on March 5, the day after mobile sports betting was legalized in Arkansas.
A few days later, Southland made a Betly Sportsbook mobile app available to Android users.
Southland, a casino and dog run in West Memphis, is awaiting approval for its Apple app, according to casino officials.
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Saracen, Oaklawn may be online soon
At Pine Bluff, the Saracen Casino Resort is awaiting vendor approval and other external features, such as geofencing, to be accepted, casino officials told Gambling.com.
Saracen has chosen to launch its online platform and Android and Apple mobile apps at the same time, when everything is approved and ready.
In a recent tweet, Saracen said he hoped to get a “bigger update soon” on his plans to launch his BetSaracen online and mobile platforms.
“Everything for the app is approved, but we’re still in a waiting game with external vendors,” the tweet read. “It’s out of our hands at the moment.”
Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs hopes to have its mobile sports betting app and online platform available by the second quarter of this year, which is between April and June, said general manager Wayne. Smith to Gambling.com in a statement.
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Oaklawn, home to a historic thoroughbred track, has a betting app, Oaklawn Anytime, available for those wishing to bet on horse races.
However, horse racing apps cannot be used in Arkansas to offer sports betting on events such as football and basketball games.
Canada hasn’t ‘spoiled’ sports betting, lobbyist says
John Burris, a former Arkansas lawmaker and lobbyist for national online bookmakers such as DraftKings and FanDuel, said in a recent tweet that “even Canada hasn’t messed up sports betting.”
The implication is that Arkansas had problems with sports betting.
Earlier this year, an Arkansas legislative committee approved a Racing Commission rule giving local casinos 51% of profits if they partner with a national bookmaker on a mobile app. These bookmakers usually share 5-15% of the profits.
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Burris told Gambling.com that profit-sharing agreements should be negotiated between national bookmakers and local casinos, not imposed by government rule. The Arkansas Racing Commission oversees all gaming in the state.
Burris said the 51% provision would limit consumer choice.
To date, the three Arkansas casinos have not partnered with any outside bookmakers.
Local casinos have successfully argued that the majority of profits from partnerships with national bookmakers should stay in the state, where thousands of casinos live and millions of dollars are spent on casino construction.
At the launch of commercial sports betting in Ontario this month, Burris tweeted that “when government and monopolies work hand in hand to protect each other, consumers lose out.”
“Even Canada hasn’t messed up sports betting,” Burris tweeted.
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Tennessee’s recent addition of three mobile sports betting apps also prompted a tweet from Burris.
“Tennessee with thirteen sportsbooks and growing,” he tweeted. “Record consumer choice. Record tax revenue for the state.
Arkansas casino officials noted that a launch of mobile betting in the natural state took place the day after legalization, but took months to begin in some places, including Ontario and Louisiana.
Prior to the legalization of mobile sports betting in Arkansas, in-person sports betting was already legal and took place at state casinos, ticket windows and kiosks.
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