Monday, July 1st, 2019, saw the first sports bet taken in Arkansas which made it the eighth state to legalize sports betting after the federal ban was lifted by the US Supreme Court in May 2018 which legalized online and land-based sports betting outside Nevada.
The first bet was taken by Wayne Smith who is the facility manager at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort on Monday morning. The $5 first bet taken was on the September 8th NFL game where according to Wayne’s bet, Dallas Cowboys is to win over New York Giants in Dallas.
Inside the casino will be tellers installed to accept the sports bet which will dispense services from 10 am to 10 pm, bettors will also have self-service kiosks which will dispense the services for as long as the casino will be open. The kiosks will be 12 in number divided as follows; six (6) will be in the sportsbook area, four (4) at the bar area, one (1) will be in the high roller area and one will be situated close to the entrance.
Welcoming the move, Smith said, ‘We’re excited to now be offering sports wagering. It’s a new level of entertainment for our guests.’ For the sportsbook at the casino, SBTech is expected to operate it. The casino gambling came a bit earlier in April with the casino having six blackjack tables and some of the craps tables. There are current expansions being undertaken that will cost a figure around $100 Million. The current expansions will see a gaming space of 28,000 square feet added.
13% tax rate
In November 2018, a constitutional amendment meant to allow casinos in four of Arkansas counties, saw 54.1% of the voters agree with it. The same amendment would also give approval to the casinos to take sports bets.
The state has put on a tax rate of 13% on the revenues up to $150 Million won by the sportsbooks and casinos. For any revenue above $150 Million won by the facilities, the state will tax 20%. The state projects revenue of $66 Million from the gaming sector.
The amendment did not include online sports betting and despite several bills presented to the legislature, none has received much traction and it remains to be seen if online sportsbook will be a dream that will come to pass.
Players can, however, expect new facilities in Jefferson and Pope counties that will offer both sports betting and casino services.
Southland still on dispute
Plans on the existing West Memphis-based Southland Gaming and Racing facility to offer sports betting have not yet been laid out to the Racing Commission, however, the facility is expected to offer the service.
The delay experienced goes down to a dispute between Delaware North, Southland’s owner, and Miomni, sports betting operator, which has forced Delaware to close down his two casino sportsbooks temporarily till the issue is solved. The dispute in question is with Entergaming, a third-party vendor.
Speaking on when the sportsbook would be expected to get back, the owner’s spokesman said, ‘At this time we don’t have an opening date for the sportsbook. We are working towards beginning construction this summer on the new gaming complex and hotel and will be adding surface parking this spring to offset the parking that will be lost from the construction.