- Arkansas online sports betting launched on Saturday, March 5
- No online sportsbook apps are yet available
- Southland Casino Racing launched an online sportsbook through its website
Arkansas residents still cannot place online sports bets from their phones, but one state casino has made Arkansas online sports betting a reality for bettors.
Southland Casino Racing launched an online sportsbook through its website on Saturday, March 5, and is accepting bets from PC and Mac web browsers. It accepted its first bets over the weekend, but the casino is still waiting approval to launch its online sportsbook app for mobile phones.
“The Betly online sportsbook will make it even easier for our patrons, all Arkansas residents and visitors to the state to wager on their favorite teams,” said David Wolf, president and general manager of Southland Casino Racing, in a press release. “Many patrons are already using our Betly sportsbook kiosks at Southland, so the online sportsbook will be a familiar and convenient extension of our sports betting experience.”
Mobile Sportsbook Apps Not Yet Available
The Arkansas Joint Budget Committee approved sports betting on Tuesday, Feb. 22, and it became legal on Friday, March 4. However, Arkansas casinos are still scrambling to receive approval from Google and Apple to launch their own sportsbook apps for mobile betting.
Carlton Saffa, chief marketing officer of Saracen Casino, told Sports Betting Dime last week that Saracen Casino’s Bet Saracen sportsbook app has been completed and is awaiting final authorization from Google and Apple before the app can go live. While the launch date is unknown, Saffa said it would be before the start of the NCAA March Madness tournament on March 15.
Southland Casino Racing finds itself in the same situation. Its Betly sportsbook mobile phone app is still awaiting approval for launch.
Delaware North, a global hospitality and entertainment company, developed Southland Casino Racing’s Betly online sportsbook app through Gamewise, a joint venture company that launched in July 2021.
“We strived to make Betly very fun, user friendly and unintimidating as an ideal first experience for people wanting to get into sports betting,” said Luisa Woods, vice president of marketing for Delaware North’s gaming division, in a press release.
Casinos Relying On Own Sportsbook Apps
Arkansas casinos will likely have to use and develop their own online sportsbooks rather than partnering with a national online sportsbook company to use their technology. Arkansas included a 51% sports betting revenue clause in their approved sports betting bill, which requires that state casinos keep at least 51% of sports betting revenue if partnered with an online sportsbook company. Online sportsbooks typically keep between 85% to 95% of revenue in partnerships with casinos in other states.
The rule will likely initially keep the large online sportsbook companies out of the state, which is why the Arkansas casinos are relying on their own designed sportsbook apps.