With new online sports books being developed on a daily basis, the public at large is coming around to understanding the realized and potential benefits of sports betting. It draws participants from all corners of the world. Unfortunately, not all states and countries allow residents to sports bet and Arkansas was one of those states — until last year.
Before 2018, Arkansas was set to be a state with laws prohibiting casino gambling. Some of its lawmakers had no desire to change those laws. But strong economic arguments for sports betting were made and, on Nov. 6, 2018, Arkansas voters approved ‘Issue 4,’ a constitutional amendment that brings expanded gambling — including sports betting — to four casinos in four different counties across the state. The amendment allows casinos to offer gambling and sports betting.
In Hot Springs and West Memphis, there are racetracks that offer video slots games, table games and video poker. The amendment allows Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort (horse racing) and Southland Racing Casino (dog racing) to offer its visitors a wider gaming variety that will soon include sports betting as an option. Another two establishments are set to be built, expanding the gaming industry.
One of them will be in Pope County. Last year, I got insight from Russellville Mayor Randall Horton on what such a casino there would mean. “Russellville is a stopping off point already for Razorback travelers from central/south/east Arkansas,” he wrote in an email. “A lot of fans have a tradition of stopping for a meal either at the Feltner’s Whatta-Burger or C.J.’s Butcher Boy [Burgers]. It is conceivable that some might rearrange their travel to leave a day early and spend the night at a gaming facility to play for a few hours or start back after a game, drive a couple hours toward home and then spend a night at the potential resort and then continue home on Sunday. Either is pure speculation.”
So what does this mean for online gambling in Arkansas?
Currently, online gambling is strictly prohibited in the state of Arkansas with no immediate plans to change these laws. Only horse racing, greyhound racing and fantasy sports betting is allowed. Horse racing at Oaklawn has proven to be incredibly popular over the decades.
There is, however, a grey area: Arkansas residents can take advantage of gambling at offshore online casino establishments. Still, online sports betting may be slightly more difficult to get into. Notorious sports betting sites like novibet.co.uk offer tough competition, but can be visited when outside the state of Arkansas.
Although online sports betting doesn’t seem likely in the immediate future, the Arkansas Racing Commission has the power to supervise changes to these laws with voter approval.
The Benefits of Online Gambling
Online casinos allow players advantages no land-based establishment could deliver. Online gambling offers bonus perks such as sign-up offers, bonus rounds, free games, additional functionality and VIP programs. These are perks players couldn’t access at a land-based establishment. No bricks and motor casino will allow members to walk in and play for free, but online casinos have this feature (except the walking-in part).
The Importance of Online Sports Betting
Sports betting is a rising trend amongst online partipicants and unites two of the internet’s greatest percentage holders: bettors and sports. As advocates point out, online sports betting allows you the opportunity to place wagers on your favorite sports teams and players. It’s then easy to watch the game along with the bets in real time thanks to live streaming technology.
Gambling is clearly gaining social traction. More countries regulating online gambling and the lucrative profits the past time brings are jumping in. Given this, it’s no surprise many people in Arkansas are hoping laws turn in favor of the sport. The year 2019 has already seen many states voting into law bills legalizing online gambling and permitting the licensing of online casinos.
Online casinos bring in millions in profits, and part of that could go to the state of Arkansas as a new, impressive source of taxable revenue.