Mar 10, 2022
Arkansas Goes Live With Legal Mobile Sports Betting
The men’s college basketball regular season came to a close on Sunday, March 6. This paves the way for a solid week of postseason action across a large number of individual conference tournaments. The outcome of these games will set the 68-team field for the 2022 NCAA Tournament starting the third week of the month.
As one of the biggest sports betting events of the year, betting on this tournament will give Arkansas’s overall sportsbook industry a major shot in the arm.
The first in-state casino to go live with a mobile sports betting app was Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis. Powered by the Betly online sports betting platform, in-state sports betting fans all across Arkansas can legally place sports bets online.
In light of the recent change in state law, this launch took place just one day after the new regulations went into effect. The effort to legalize mobile sports betting was spearheaded by the Arkansas Racing Commission.
Once the measure gained acceptance at that level, final approval by state lawmakers paved the way for the change in Arkansas sports betting laws. Retail sports betting through land-based casinos has been legal since 2019.
Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis has been since operating its Betfly retail sportsbook for the past few years. The other two land-based casinos with retail sportsbooks are Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort and Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff.
Each of these locations also have plans to go live with legal online sports betting with their own mobile app. Oaklawn has pushed its launch off to the first half of 2022. The Bet Saracen mobile sportsbook app should be available in the near future.
Plans for a fourth land-based casino in Arkansas are still in the works. This gaming venue has been earmarked for Pope County. Under current state law, this casino would have the ability to offer both retail and online sports betting among its gaming options.
Southland’s launch gives the gaming venue a major leg up on the competition in the absence of other commercial operators in the state such as FanDuel and DraftKings. Regulated by the Arkansas Racing Commission, the current system is designed to protect the state’s horse racing industry.
Delaware North owns and operates Southland Casino Racing as a privately held entertainment and hospitality company. Its gaming portfolio includes two land-based casinos in West Virginia with Betly retail sportsbooks.
The Betly online sportsbook site and mobile app was developed through a joint venture with Gaming1. This Belgian-based gaming company is part of the Ardent Group as a major player in the industry on a global level.
As vice president of marketing for Delaware North’s gaming division, Luisa Woods commented on the betting app as follows:
“We strived to make Betly very fun, user friendly and unintimidating as an ideal first experience for people wanting to get into sports betting. Its innovative features are specifically designed to engage and entertain sports fans.”
Written by Dave Schwab, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert.