Arkansas sports betting is officially live. The first bet was taken on July 1 by Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort, signaling a new era of sports in the state.
Oaklawn General Manager Wayne Smith made the ceremonious first bet, wagering $5 for the Dallas Cowboys to beat the New York Giants in the season opener. “We’re excited to now be offering sports wagering,” he said in a statement. “It’s a new level of entertainment for our guests.”
For now, only Oaklawn is running sports betting, and they only have a brick-and-mortar sportsbook. Betting will be available from open to close from betting kiosks, and offer tellers 12 hours a day, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., according to the casino’s press release.
The Arkansas Racing Commission approved Oaklawn for a sportsbook just last month. It’s one of the four counties that was given permission to set up a casino, then a sportsbook, during last November’s election.
In addition to Oakland, Southland Gaming and Racing in West Memphis is on the docket to begin allowing casino games and sports betting. They have yet to submit the required plans to beginning offering sports betting, despite announcing plans that sports betting would be coming soon.
The other two counties that are now allowed to operate casinos and sportsbooks are Pope County and Jefferson County, neither of which has any gambling currently operating. Pope County recently saw five bids to build a casino in the county, but rejected all five.
At the end of June, one of the rejected Pope County bids appealed the state Racing Commission about the rejected bid. None of the other bids have appealed the rejection as of yet. The bids were a mix of Native American tribes, business partnerships, and Warner Gaming out of Las Vegas.
There has been little news out of Jefferson County so far about their casino and sports betting future.