Arkansas bettors could be able to place online wagers just in time for the upcoming Superbowl. After the latest session of the Arkansas Racing Commission, the state has moved one step closer to joining others who have already legalized online sports betting.
Online Sports Betting Could Be Legal in Arkansas before Superbowl
Last Thursday, The members of the Commission met. Furthermore, the meeting ends with a unanimous vote to approve the rules. Moreover, it will regulate online and mobile sports wagering in the state. Lastly, the final decision now lies with the state legislative committee which will review the rules next.
According to Scott Harding from the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, the committee meets in late January. Should the committee confirm the Racing Commission’s decision and approve the rules, sports bettors in Arkansas are able to place their wagers in time for the Superbowl in February.
Will The State Of Arkansas Legalize Sports Betting?
The Arkansas casinos are already preparing for a positive outcome. The CMO of Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff, Carlton Saffa, said that they will have their app ready for Superbowl betting if the committee’s decision goes the way they expect. With only one hurdle left, Saffa says that he’s been asked numerous times when will the app go live.
Betting Allowed only on Casino Premises at the Moment
At the moment, sports betting is legal but only inside the casinos. This is an issue for many people living in the state who wish to place their wagers. For example, bettors from northwest Arkansas have to drive 3 hours just to get to the spot where they can bet legally. Mobile and online betting will allow them to place their wagers from the comfort of their own homes.
Mobile Betting In The US
It’s still unclear whether the major national players in the mobile betting industry will offer their services in Arkansas. The major hurdle is the fact that the regulations call for more than half of betting revenue to remain in the state. It remains to be seen if major online gambling sites, such as Pointsbet, FanDuel or DraftKings will find interest to join the betting market in Arkansas.
The Racing Commission posted the proposed rules online to allow the public to provide their input on the matter. In 30 days, they have received more than 1000 comments on the proposal. Hardin said that they have never before seen that amount of feedback from the members other public. It just goes to show that the people of Arkansas are passionate about the issue and willing to get engaged in the decision process.
Besides those supporting the legalization of online sports betting, there was also some opposition. One of the most vociferous opponents is Jerry Cox, the executive director of Family Council. This conservative group, based in Little Rock, is opposed to making gambling legal in Arkansas. Cox himself says, there’s little they can do about it. According to him, regular citizens complain much more as the Arkansas Racing Commission is not an elected body.