Weekly Roundup 3/04/22

Arkansas to Go Live with Mobile Betting This Month

Arkansas voters and legislators saw the take from states with legal sports betting and wanted to move in that direction. Now, after an Arkansas Racing Commission ruleset was approved by the AR legislature, sports betting will go live in March 2022. 

Bet Saracen is slated to be the first sportsbook to offer online betting at launch, as they’ve already gotten the green light from the Arkansas Racing Commission. However, it’s expected that several big players in the sportsbook industry will apply for licensure, including BetMGM, FanDuel, DraftKings, and Caesars Sportsbook

Illinois to Re-Launch Sportsbooks Without In-Person Registration Requirement

Illinois has had legal sports betting since March 2020 when they took their first bets on the BetRivers platform. Since then, Illinois has offered legal online betting in a market shared by several operators.

However, one caveat to Illinois’ in-person sports betting program: registration is required to happen at in-person casino locations across the state. This presents an inconvenience for a good number of potential bettors. 

That requirement was temporarily suspended during the height of social distancing during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the executive order suspending in-person registration lapsed, and has been required since.

That was the requirement for some time, but legislators opted to remove that requirement for good starting this Saturday, March 5th. After that point, bettors will be able to bet on their favorite sports by signing up with their preferred sportsbook with no requirement to physically enter a casino to prove their identity.

Virginia In-State College Betting Ban Likely to Stay

Virginia has opted to not allow for bets on state-based collegiate teams after a vote from the legislature. SB 576 was the bill that attempted to legalize these bets (excepting proposition bets), and was championed by State Senator Monty Mason.

As is the case with most bills attempting to legalize or expand online betting, the bills must be passed through committee before being presented to the opposing arm of the legislature: in this case, Senate Bill 576 proposed by a VA State Senator is proposed to the House if a committee advances the bill.

Said subcommittee, the House’s General Laws Committee, tabled the bill, which means it won’t be considered until the next session of the legislature, and is often the death knell for any bill. A similar House effort earlier in February was also unsuccessful. The ban on in-college betting continues to have major support in Virginia, and is unlikely to change soon.

Alaska State Rep. Introduces Sports Betting Bill

Alaska doesn’t have a strong gambling presence, but a state representative is attempting to change that in the form of a new sports betting bill, HB 385.

Adam Wool presented this legislation in February, which attempts to legalize sports betting as one of the only gambling activities to be allowed in The Last Frontier. The only other forms of legal betting include limited in-person casino gambling at tribal facilities in the state.

Historically conservative states all over the US are looking at the revenues taken in by legal sports betting programs, and Wool’s HB 385 would set a 12% tax rate on 10 available licenses. It would be a decent take for Alaska’s state coffers, but as the state doesn’t boast any professional sports teams, there’s not a huge push for making betting legal.

Still, Alaska is a state that takes its individual freedoms seriously, as it is politically and physically set apart from the rest of the nation. If HB 385 is able to generate enough momentum (and attention), it’s not an outside shot to imagine that it might be able to secure Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s signature.

Written by Chris Altman, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert.

The featured image for this post was sourced on Wikimedia Commons.