Arkansas Sports Betting Controversy

December 31, 2021 Gambling regulation changes

We’ve been bringing news around the rapidly changing landscape of online sports betting and online gambling in the US as big changes have been made over the past two years in particular, with more information being available through our look at U.S gambling laws – Arkansas have been the latest state to initiative some changes for the new year but the announcement may not make all involved happy as it has fallen under a controversial view for the efforts that have been put forward.

Voting to push change through was made earlier in the year, back in November, by allowing legalized commercial casino gambling and also exploring options for two new from-the-ground-up casinos to emerge in the state too – this is a continuation from the launch of sports betting back in 2019 with ‘racinos’ and having since seen the launch of a sports book in the state too – the same legislation passed also allowed for state officials to authorize mobile sports betting into the future, something that many other states have been implementing to great success – but this is where the rub is, following a meeting to expand gaming licenses, some new rules had emerged and one that will hit operators particularly hard.

The issue is aimed at the commercial revenues and how they will be distributed – the clause requires that at least 51 percent of a sports books gross gaming revenue generated will stay with the licensed land-based commercial casino, and the first state to introduce a rule of this kind and has become an argument from the sports book operators stating as much – the claim is that sports book customers generate revenues for casinos in other ways and a direct sharing of revenues will harm the sports books as all marketing and dealings with players is handled directly through the sports book.

Whilst the ruling isn’t final, and may be subject to change in the future, for now it doesn’t seem like there’s all that much to encourage operators to look for options in the state just yet – any mobile sportsbook that may look to receive a license for Arkansas will be subject to a tether to one of the four brick-and-mortar casinos, and will face giving up over half of it’s revenues at minimum for doing so – but with only four casinos and four licenses to hand out, it would only be expected that the largest sports books available in the US would be the ones likely to make the partnerships anyway – and given current statements and sentiments showing unhappiness with the current proposal, future changes may certainly be needed to encourage operators after this controversy.

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