Casino-style gambling wagers at Oaklawn and Southland topped $1.3 billion during the first 6 months of 2012.
The electronic games of skill (EGS) figures were provided by the Arkansas Racing Commission on Wednesday (July 11). EGS includes video blackjack, poker, slot machines and other casino-style games.
For the first half of the year, EGS wagers at Hot Springs-based Oaklawn cleared $468.77 million, up 48% compared to the first 6 months of 2011. At West Memphis-based Southland, EGS wagers totaled $889.1 million, an increase of 49% from the same period one year ago.
Combined the two racetracks reported EGS gambling wagers of $1.35 billion, putting them on course to easily surpass $2.5 billion in full-year wagers if current trends continue.
The EGS figures underscore the financial interest two casino expansion proposals
have in gaining voter approval this November.
Professional poker player Nancy Todd and Texas businessman Michael Wasserman have submitted enough signatures to initially qualify separate ballot measures that would alter the Arkansas Constitution to allow full-fledged casinos in the state.
Todd's proposal would allow Nancy Todd’s Poker Palace and Entertainment Venues LLC to own and operate casinos in Crittenden, Franklin, Miller and Pulaski counties. Wasserman's measure would permit his business, known as Arkansas Hotels and Entertainment, Inc., to open casinos in Boone, Crittenden, Garland, Jefferson, Miller, Pulaski and Sebastian counties.