The Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Arkansas is expected to launch sports betting operations today.
According to reports from local media, the Arkansas Racing Commission approved Oaklawn’s bid for a sports betting license.
On Thursday, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that “the commission approved the sports betting plans for Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort, which has the thoroughbred racetrack in Hot Springs, to begin July 1.”
Once the Hot Springs venue launches its sportsbook, it will become the first venue to offer sports betting in the Natural State.
The Oaklawn sportsbook
Oaklawn announced its $100m expansion plans back in November shortly after the state legalized sports betting.
The expansion includes an event center, hotel and an extra 28,000 square feet in the casino gaming area.
On 11 June, the venues general manager Wayne Smith told BloodHorse, that Oaklawn has partnered with SBTech for sports betting.
According to Smith, Oaklawn’s plan is to incorporate sports betting into the racebook on the casino floor.
Smith also said that venue will three video walls and self-service kiosks will be located throughout the casino.
According to Oaklawn’s site, the sportsbook’s teller windows will be open between 10 am and 10 pm.
What about Southland Gaming & Racing
In March, Southland Gaming & Racing began advertising that a BetLucky sportsbook would be coming soon.
However, Southland has yet to submit plans for its sportsbook to the Arkansas Racing Commission and does not have a launch date for its sportsbook.
As a result of the dispute, Delaware North suspended sports betting operations at its two West Virginia casinos and suspended the only mobile betting app in the state.
The journey to legal betting in Arkansas
During the 2018 mid-term election held on 6 November 2018, voters in Arkansas voted on Issue 4, a constitutional amendment that would expand the states gambling industry.
Voters approved Issue 4 which paved the way for casino gambling and made Arkansas the eighth state to legalize sports betting.
The amendment defines casinos gambling as “dealing, operating, carrying on, conducting, maintaining, or exposing for play any game played with cards, dice, equipment, or any mechanical, electromechanical, or electronic device or machine for money, property, checks, credit, or any representative value. Casino gaming shall also be defined to include accepting wagers on sporting events.”
Although the measure was approved, Governor Asa Hutchinson told the Democrat-Gazette: “I did not support this initiative, and I continue to have great concern over the immediate and negative impact on the state’s budget.
“But the people have spoken and I respect their will. Time will tell as to what this means for our state, and it remains to be seen as to whether the communities affected will consent to the gambling initiative.”
Elsewhere in the US, Illinois has officially legalized sports betting after the state’s Governor signed a gambling expansion package into law on Friday.