The Arkansas Racing Commission has voted to adopt new rules and regulations that will expand the state’s gambling industry to allow licensed operators to offer mobile sports betting.
Retail sports betting has been available in the state since 2019 and the Commission met on Thursday of this week with a view to making a final decision on the contentious topic of mobile sports betting.
Discussions were expected to delay the decision as several major national bookmakers voiced their dissatisfaction with a deal that required land-based casino operators be given a 51% share of all profits. Representatives of those bookmakers, including FanDuel Director of Government Affairs Andrew Winchell, argued that Arkansas should adopt a similar approach to other states, allowing for multiple skins for each operator and a lower profits share of around 15% for land-based casino partners.
However, the arguments against the expansion were unsuccessful and a vote passed without any official discussion.
As a result, the new rules will allow Arkansas’ three casinos to each partner with two mobile sports betting operators. A fourth casino which is currently under development will also be allowed to do the same once opened.
Online operators had originally wanted to launch a minimum of four online skins each while casinos wanted only one. The granting of two skins is likely a result of a compromise between local casinos and online sportsbook operators.
While the Commission has approved the rules, the matter still must go before a legislative subcommittee in early January before they can be officially adopted and signed into law. Despite fears over lengthy discussions delaying a potential launch, Commission spokesperson Scott Hardin told local TV that mobile sports betting could go live in early 2022.