It was another record year for casino-style gambling in Arkansas and the biggest numbers are still to come.
Electronic games of skill (EGS) wagers at Oaklawn’s and Southland’s casinos topped $5.2 billion in wagers, according to data from the Arkansas Racing Commission. The wager amount accounts for the two casinos at the respective Hot Springs and West Memphis facilities before voters approved last November full-fledged casino gambling.
Oaklawn reported $2,051,202,966 in EGS wagers in 2018, up from $1,940,971,842 in 2017. Southland reported $3,165,093,790 in EGS wagers last year, an increase from $3,060,821,691 in 2017.
Combined, EGS wagers at the two facilities amounted to $5,216,296,756 in 2018, well above the record $5,001,793,533 reported in 2017 at the two casinos.
Year-to-date, both Oaklawn and Southland are seeing a spike in casino wagers. Oaklawn’s numbers are up 11.3% in the first three months of 2019, while Southland’s EGS wagers have risen by 3.7%.
On Wednesday (May 1), the Arkansas Racing Commission is expected to receive its first application for a casino in Pine Bluff. Last November, Arkansas voters approved Issue 4, now Amendment 100, to allow for expanded casino operations at Oaklawn (Garland Co.), Southland (Crittenden Co.) and new casinos in Pope and Jefferson counties.
The recently-passed amendment to the Arkansas Constitution requires that only one casino license can qualify in each of the two new counties. Voters approved the measure 54-46% statewide.