Arkansas governor reportedly supportive of online sports betting
By Bob Garcia
Online sportsbooks continue to perform better than their land-based counterparts
The South has certainly been warming up to mobile sports betting in recent months, and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson says he is fully on board with the move in his state. Having the governor’s support for such activity is not only fundamental to the market’s path, but also reaffirms once again the acceptance of top officials in an industry that is becoming increasingly lucrative and brings huge benefits to states in general.
Hutchinson, shortly before giving a speech at a luncheon in Fayetteville last week, said he would be in favor of mobile gambling as long as rules such as geofencing are included. Geofencing is a term that refers to preventing people from placing bets via smartphones or computers if they are outside an approved area. Therefore, Hutchinson said that as long as the appropriate rules are adopted, the market will have his full support.
Southland in West Memphis, Oaklawn in Hot Springs, and Saracen in Pine Bluff are casinos located in the Wonder State that are allowed to conduct sports betting at both sportsbooks and kiosks. Russellville could be home to a fourth licensed casino; however, it appears that is a long way off as it is currently in the middle of a legal dispute. The Arkansas Racing Commission would have to change the current rules to allow bettors to use smartphones to place wagers off the casino grounds. Hutchinson said the most appropriate thing to do at this time is for the commission to explore mobile sports betting and make it a relevant priority.
Hutchinson said that being a competitive state is an urgent need, so more options should be explored to keep the market attractive to players. Many of the states provide players with the ability to place mobile wagers, and Hutchinson said he doesn’t want Arkansas to be left behind in that trend, especially after Tennessee and Louisiana welcomed that market.