FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Mobile sports betting in Arkansas officially became legal on March 4th.
“Instead of driving to Hot Springs, Pine Bluff, or West Memphis, with this rule change you can just download an app on your phone, prove you’re 21 years old and you’re good to go,” says Scott Hardin with the Arkansas Department of Finance (ADF).
Since its legalization, Southland Casino has launched a betting platform on PC and Mac.
There is not yet a way to place a sports wager from your phone, and even though each casino in Arkansas has the ability to partner with third-party, established betting platforms like FanDuel or DraftKings, Arkansans probably won’t be seeing apps like these in the immediate future.
“The legislation is very unique in Arkansas; it presents the operators with a lot of other considerations,” says Doug Terfehr with Maximbet, a third-party betting platform that is considering doing business in Arkansas.
He says doing business here is a lot less attractive than in other states, because any Arkansas casino they partner with would take 51% of the profits.
“The margin for the operator is really very small, so if you were cutting into that margin even more so from a market share perspective and a profit share it just creates new considerations,” says Terfehr.
Representatives from FanDuel and DraftKings have publicly opposed the Arkansas legislation.
But Scott Hardin with the ADF says casinos using apps of their own will still have an enormous financial impact on the state.
“I think it would be very conservative to say that we at least double or triple the current number, that’s more likely 300 or 400 million dollars,” says Hardin.
While sports betting is already up and running on web browsers for PC and Macs, Hardin says the first mobile app by Saracen Casino is expected to launch in the next couple of days.