On February 22, 2022, the Arkansas Joint Budget Committee (Committee) legalized mobile/online sports betting in the state of Arkansas by approving the proposed amendments to the state’s casino gaming rules. As we reported previously, on December 30, 2021, the Arkansas Racing Commission (Commission) voted to amend the state’s casino gaming rules to allow online/mobile sports betting throughout the state. Shortly thereafter, the Commission asked Arkansas Legislative Council to hold off on approving the amended rules. However, as shown by the Committee’s approval today, the Arkansas legislature was eager to move forward with the launch of online sports betting.
While an exact timeline has not been established, Arkansas casinos may launch online betting websites and mobile applications 10 days from today, February 22, 2022, which would allow for a March 4, 2022 launch. Thus, the earliest online sports betting could launch is March 4. Officials are hopeful to have online betting launch shortly thereafter, in time for the beginning of “March Madness,” which begins March 15. At this time, it is uncertain as to whether casinos will launch their own online betting websites and mobile applications or contract with third-party betting platform operators.
The amended rules allow Arkansas casinos to operate their own online betting platforms or contract with a third-party online betting platform operator. Each casino may contract with up to two different third-party betting platform operators. If a casino chooses to contract with a third-party betting platform operator, the name of the casino must be displayed conspicuously on the operator’s online betting site and mobile application. Furthermore, the rules mandate that 51% of the net revenue generated from online betting must go to the casino the third-party betting platform contracts with.
We will continue to monitor developments in Arkansas and provide further updates when appropriate.