Arkansas Experiencing Sports Betting Growth

Sports betting is back in full force in Arkansas, and a historic race track has seen tremendous success in recent months. Oaklawn Resort in Hot Springs, Arkansas is the top sportsbook in the state, and that location is starting to put up some huge betting numbers.

The Oaklawn Resort was shut down for more than two months during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it hasn’t taken the sportsbook long to get back to pre-COVID numbers. After a successful August, Oaklawn is looking forward to an even bigger September.

The Oaklawn horse track is one of the most storied venues in the United States, and it hosts a very important race each spring. The Arkansas Derby is held at Oaklawn, and this historic race takes place right before the start of the Triple Crown races.

The horse track has been open since the 1990’s, and the casino was just recently added on-site to create the Oaklawn Resort.

In July, Oaklawn saw a total sports betting handle of just $179,315, and the resort actually posted a net loss for that month. Oaklawn paid out $19,633 more than they won on sports betting.

Those numbers looked completely different in August, as the total sports betting handle went over the $1 million mark. Oaklawn saw a win of more than $69,000 during August, and that provided financial relief to the historic racetrack.

The sportsbook at Oaklawn is not as large as some other betting facilities throughout the country, but it has still done extremely well. There are betting kiosks set up on the gaming floor, and there is also a ticket counter for bettors to visit.

SEC Football Should Create Another Surge

The entire sports betting industry throughout the United States saw huge growth during the month of August, and that is expected to carry over into September. The return of live sports, especially the National Football League, should provide plenty of additional revenue.

Major League Baseball will still have a month of playoffs to complete this fall, and the NBA and NHL are currently still playing as well. These leagues will both bring in some betting action this fall, but football is king in the sports wagering industry.

Football is huge in Arkansas, especially when it comes to the Arkansas Razorbacks. Arkansas competes in the Southeastern Conference (SEC), which will be kicking off the 2020 season this weekend.

The Arkansas Razorbacks compete in the SEC West Division, which features the likes of Alabama and LSU. Even if it is another rough season for the Razorbacks, the sports betting industry in Arkansas is expected to see plenty of action this fall.

Casinos Reopen As Well

The gambling industry in Arkansas is relatively new, and is also still growing. Voters throughout the state approved expanded gambling in 2018 and that allowed four cities to open casinos.

Oaklawn Resort and a greyhound track near West Memphis already featured games of skill for customers, but they were able to launch full-fledged casinos after this vote.

On October 15, a brand new casino is expected to open in Pine Bluff, which will give residents another betting option in the state. Russellville will be the fourth city that is able to launch a casino, but that project has seen several delays with no projected date of completion.

Casinos in West Memphis and at Oaklawn have been able to reopen since May, but they are both operating at 66 percent capacity. Sportsbooks at the other locations outside of Oaklawn recently reopened as well, but the horse track remains the leader in the market.


Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.