Super Bowl wagering hits $2.8 million at Arkansas casinos

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,389 views 

The Kansas City Chiefs and the team’s fans weren’t the only Super Bowl winners. Arkansas’ three casinos reported $2.8 million in wagering on the big game, with most wagers placed on a mobile device, according to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DFA).

The DFA on Monday (Feb. 13) reported that wagering on Sunday’s game was the largest amount since sports betting was legalized in November 2018. At that time, the wagering could only take place at an Arkansas casino, but the law was changed in 2022 by the Arkansas Racing Commission to allow online sports betting.

According to the DFA, Saracen Casino in Pine Bluff reported 35,000 wagers on the game with more than 90% of those through its app. Oaklawn in Hot Springs and Southland in West Memphis also manage sports betting and online wagering in Arkansas.

“Not surprisingly, the majority of wagers on the game were placed through a mobile device,” said DFA spokesman Scott Hardin. “Wagers on the game increased from $705,000 in 2020 to $2.8 million in 2023. We anticipate a record month in March as Arkansans have the mobile option in place for the first time during March Madness.”

A total of $186 million was wagered on sports through the state’s three casinos in 2022. Mobile device wagers represented $122 million of that total. December, the most recent month with wagering tax data reported, had $30.9 million in total sports wagers – in person and online – at the three casinos. The casinos paid out $27.5 million on the $30.9 million in wagers, and Arkansas collected approximately $450,000 in taxes from this sports betting revenue.

Casinos pay 13% in taxes on all annual revenue under $150 million. It moves to 20% on all revenue above $150 million for the year. This applies to all casino revenue, whether from sports betting, slots, blackjack, roulette, craps, video poker, and other forms of gaming.

Following is how the gaming tax revenue is distributed under the provisions of Amendment 100.
• 55% to the Arkansas General Revenue Fund
• 17.5% to the to the Arkansas Racing Commission for deposit into the Arkansas Racing Commission Purse and Awards Fund
• 8% to the county in which the casino is located
• 19.5% to the city or town in which the casino is located. If the casino is not located within a city or town, the 19.5% shall go to the county.

Amendment 100 was approved in 2018 by voters. It established The Arkansas Casino Gaming Amendment, which required the Racing Commission to issue licenses to Oaklawn Jockey Club in Hot Springs, Southland Racing Corporation in West Memphis, and to entities in Pope County and Jefferson County. Saracen Casino in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) has opened, with legal disputes delaying the construction of a casino in Pope County.