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Expanded Sports Betting Could be heading to Arkansas

Arkansas

New online sports betting legislation has been put forward in Arkansas.

There could be more betting options for residents of Arkansas in the future. On Monday, Rep. Lee Johnson introduced House Bill 1942, which would legalize online sports wagering in the Natural State. The wording on the bill says that “the state would benefit substantially from authorizing online sports pools.” It goes on to say that these online pools would be conducted via casino licenses within the state, and the online operators would need to have a contractual agreement in place with the casinos in order to be approved.

Under the conditions of the bill, each casino licensee could get up to three skins. The Arkansas Racing Commission would be given the role of formulating the gaming rules and can determine the types of wagers and events that can be bet on. Additionally, the commission would be responsible for regular reporting, geolocation requirements, and responsible gaming advertising that ensures minors and not targeted.

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HB1942 would permit Arkansas residents to be on both professional and college sports. “Online sports pool” means players can bet on their mobile devices, desktop computers, or any other interactive devices that the Arkansas Racing Commission has approved.

New Bill Includes Remote Registration

One of the most appealing aspects of the new bill for bettors in Arkansas is that remote registration is included. This means players can sign up for a new betting account in -person at the location of the casino licensee or remotely on the internet.

The Arkansas Racing Commission will consider each application request from the casinos that apply for an online license. The commission must decide whether applicants who hold a valid casino license are also in compliance with the commission before authorizing them with an official online sports license.

Once the application has been formally submitted to the commission, applicants will also be eligible to ask for an interim license. If that were to be approved, the applicant is then authorized to immediately act as an online operator for up to 365 days. Additionally, the commission may also approve specific standards on a temporary basis if a permanent deadline is produced to comply with the full standards at the time approval is given.

Arkansas became the eighth state to permit sports betting, and online sports wagering would be the next logical step. Oaklawn in Hot Springs accepted the first legal wager in the state on July 1, 2019. The only other two sportsbooks in Arkansas, Saracen in Pine Bluff and Southland Casino in West Memphis, opened last year but were forced to close temporarily due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Bettors in Arkansas can place bets at any of the casinos within the state. Southland in West Memphis and Oaklawn in Hot Springs were turned into casinos, while casino licenses were also handed out to the Quapaw Nation, which built Saracen Casino in Pine Bluff. There was also a casino license given for a proposed facility to be built in Pope County.

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