A lot of folks in Arkansas are putting their chips in on the wide variety of sports betting, with wagers totaling a record $21.18 million in September, well above the previous record of $12.6 million in June, according to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DFA).
Sports wagers may be placed at the state’s three casinos or through apps offered by each casino. The individual must be in Arkansas in order for the apps to accept wagers. Saracen Casino in Pine Bluff led with a total of $10.48 million wagered on sports in September, with $9.54 million of that wagered on Saracen’s app, according to the DFA. The other casinos are Southland in West Memphis and Oaklawn in Hot Springs. A casino approved for Pope County (Russellville) has been delayed by years of lawsuits.
“We expected to see sports wagers increase in September due to football season,” said Scott Hardin, spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. “However, $21.18 million was a surprise as it surpassed the previous record by more than $8.5 million. On average, $706,000 was wagered on sports daily in September.”
The first legal sports wager in Arkansas was placed in July 2019, but wagers were limited to on-site casino property. A rule change in early 2022 allowed the state’s casinos to offer the online or mobile app option. Approximately $209 million has been wagered on sports in Arkansas since July 2019. Since July 2019, the state has collected $3.203 million in tax revenue as a result of sports betting.
According to Hardin, all casino revenue is taxed at 13% up to $150 million. When a casino’s revenue reaches $150 million within one year, all revenue above $150 million is taxed at 20% for the remainder of the year. Also, while $21.18 million was spent on wagers with the casinos, $17.977 million was paid out by the casinos, leaving just a little more than $3 million available as taxable revenue.
“While sports betting is certainly increasing, it remains a small portion of the overall play and revenue for the state’s casinos,” Hardin told Talk Business & Politics.
July 2019, the first month for legal sports betting in Arkansas, generated $416,159 in wagers, with betting rising to $4.294 million in February, just before COVID-19. Other than April 2020 when all betting operations were closed because of the pandemic, the lowest month for betting was May 2020 with just $509.
Following are the monthly wager totals so far in 2022.