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Arkansas sports betting is set to make a significant expansion. A few days ago, the Arkansas Racing Commission had a vote to adopt new rules and regulations. These rules and regulations are to expand the options for sports betting in the state.

Since 2019, casinos in Arkansas have been able to offer sports betting at retail sportsbooks. There was no discussion for the vote considering it came after over an hour of comments on both sides from stakeholders.

At this point, the rules still need to be approved by a legislative subcommittee, however that is likely to happen in the first quarter of 2022. A spokesperson for the Arkansas Racing Commission, Scott Hardin, has stated that Arkansas mobile sports betting could be launching earlier this year.

The national sportsbooks representatives tried to fight for what they would consider a competitive market. This meant getting additional skins for casinos as well as a lesser take from sports betting revenue. However, this was unsuccessful. During the public hearing portion of this meeting, lobbyists representing some national sportsbook operators, including FanDuel, made these topics a focus.

The new rules for Arkansas sports betting allow the three casinos in the state to strike partnership agreements with up to two online sportsbook operators. And, at this time, there is a fourth casino in development in the state.

Both the DraftKings Sportsbook as well as the BetMGM Sportsbook had petitioned for up to or over four online skins. The rule around two skins seems to be a compromise reached between the local casinos and the national brands. The local casinos’ representatives indicated their desire for only one online brand.

The rules also keep a requirement that 51% of the sports betting revenue obtained needs to stay in the state. However, multiple representatives from national sportsbook operators indicated their belief that the requirement of profit-sharing with the Arkansas’ casinos is unreasonable.

One of the representing lobbyists for several national sportsbook brands stated that a normal share with partners would be 5% to 15%. This lobbyist suggested that the commission should employ no restrictions and permit the operators to work out their own terms with the casinos in the state.

Carlton Saffa of the Saracen Casino had the argument that sportsbook companies are embracing the 51$ revenue share requirement necessitated by New York online sports betting. He also indicated that he was offended by the national brands referring to themselves as “first-class” because it would indicate a belief that the casinos in Arkansas are not.

Back in November of 2018, voters in Arkansas approved sports betting in the state. The first sports bets were taken in July 2019 at the Oaklawn Racing Casino in the state. Since that time, sports wagerers have bet more than $104 million in the state. This has generated $1.9 million in revenue in the state.

Written by Allie Nelson, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert. You can learn more about our author's expertise here.