The Arkansas Racing Commission has unanimously approved rules that will allow casinos in the State to offer online sports betting, rather than only on-site. The Legislative Council will now conduct a further review, although some of the State’s largest lobbying groups, including the Chamber of Commerce and the Hospitality Lobby, supported the new rules as presented.
The hearing was dominated by discussion surrounding resistance from national bookmaking companies to a rule specifying that 51% of net house win be retained by Arkansas casinos. The national bookmakers normally retain 85-95%, contending that they deserve it because their marketing ability increases traffic and profit for the casinos.
Carlton Saffa, representing the Saracen Casino in Pine Bluff, noted that the bookmakers fighting the Arkansas rule, who say they cannot operate in Arkansas if casinos keep 51% of the revenue, have already been willing to accept a 51% payment to New York in order to operate there.