Sports Betting Regulations Zoom Ahead in Arkansas

Summary: The State Racing Commission continues to forge ahead with sports betting efforts in Arkansas.

Sports betting is a hot topic in the United States as state after state are looking to get in on the betting action. Close to 10 states currently offer online sports betting or have passed legislation to do so. Even more states are currently considering sports betting legislation. Last November, Arkansas lawmakers legalized the industry, and now the Arkansas Racing Commission is ready to get moving. The group proposed rules for the new industry last year and the draft has now been approved and sent to lawmakers.

Moving Forward

The residents in the state approved sports betting back in November and proposed rules were issued by the Racing Commission last month. The rules have now been approved by the Commission and the draft sent to legislation this month. A committee is now set to review the proposal, making sure all rules are coincide with legal requirements.

Once approved fully, the rules will take affected after a ten day time frame. It is not expected for the new industry to launch until later on this year, at the earliest.

With the voter backed ballot measure, regulators cannot begin to accept applications from sports betting operators until June. The new industry will be taxing casino revenues at 13%, much lower than the current rate of 18%. This change was part of the measure. The 13% rate is based on the first $150 million in revenues. Thereafter, the percentage changes to 20.

The licensing fee for sports betting has yet to be determined. However, the Racing Commission is in charge of determining the fee, which has to be less than $250,000.

Edits to the Rules were Suggested

When the rules were reviewed, the state college athletic directors did suggest a few edits. These suggestions were not taken up on. The directors sent a letter to the Commission during the review for public comment, highlighting their wish for safeguards.

In their letter, the directors requested that the Commission allow the colleges to set restrictions for operators for certain types of bets, wagers that would have a greater risk of exploitation of student athletes as well as the integrity of the game. The group also asked to have more information regarding what would be done to fight potential problems.

The concerns of the athletic directors were reviewed but no changes were made to the rules. The state must now wait for final approval and then the short waiting period before the rules go into effect. If licensing can begin by June, we could possibly see sports betting on offer in Arkansas by the upcoming football season.

It should only take a short time frame before the approval is given and there doesn’t seem to be any belief that there will be a holding period for the rules to be approved. Once in operation, the state will join a long list of operating areas in the nation. Mississippi, New Jersey, Delaware, Nevada and West Virginia are just a handful of those who are currently offering sports betting.

Many more states are preparing to review legislation as well to get in on the action.


Logan is based in Los Angeles and is an avid poker player having played in tournaments across the globe. He covers both poker & regulatory affairs.