Sports Betting Saving Arkansas Casinos


The decision to lift PASPA has proven to be a wise choice by the U.S. Supreme Court, and it seems that it’s going to be a lifesaver for Arkansas casinos. Sports betting has been keeping casinos around the U.S. afloat, as many establishments are unable to offer in-person entertainment as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shut down many businesses nationwide.

Waiting Out the Pandemic Storm

In 2018, significant changes started taking place in the U.S., and one of them was introducing sports betting to several states in America. Many casinos were able to establish legal and regulated sportsbooks, and nobody would have thought back then that these would be essential for many casino properties throughout 2020.

Arkansas was one of the states that saw that sports gambling has a huge potential in the state and made an early move to legalize this activity and offer sports fans an added layer of excitement to sports.

Arkansas didn’t wait long before the much-needed sports betting revenue started flowing in, filling the state’s coffers. This trend continued in the following years and ended up saving the entire casino industry in the state. Unlike other gambling activities, which had to stop or operate at limited capacity, sports betting has been pretty big in Arkansas, even throughout 2020.

COVID-19 has affected the entire world, crushing various industries along the way. The Arkansas casino industry was no exception to the rule as it lost more than $1 billion during shutdowns, as stated by the Department of Finance and Administration in the state.

Revenue in Arkansas Casinos

According to the Arkansas Gaming Commission (AGC), the three casinos in the state managed to collect $7 million from September 20 to October 20.

The casino that led the way was Southland Casino Racing, which collected more than $4 million during the given period. Southland was followed by Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort, which took in $1.73 million. The casino that performed the worst was Saracen Casino Resort, which is also the newest addition to the gambling landscape of Arkansas. Saracen earned just $726,311 for the one-month period.

One reason why Southland has been dominant is due to its perfect location. The casino is right across the Mississippi River from Memphis. Southland opened its sports betting offer earlier this month, seeing a total of $2.3 million in sports wagers. The betting increase coincides with the big games in NFL and college football, in addition to the very end of the NBA season.

Oaklawn also reported a substantial increase thanks to sports betting, and Saracen’s revenue tripled. All that revenue is a good thing not only for casinos but also for the state of Arkansas. The state’s sportsbooks need to pay 13% revenue tax for the initial $150 million and 20% after surpassing that amount.

The industry is getting bigger in Arkansas, and the revenue generated will make a massive contribution to Arkansas’ budget as soon as it matures.

Other states that still haven’t legalized sports betting should take notes right now to see how Arkansas used the lifting of PASPA to make its gambling industry survive the COVID-19 pandemic and still make a profit along the way.

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