State panel to consider legalizing mobile sports betting in Arkansas

FILE — Horses and jockeys break from the starting gate at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs. (Democrat-Gazette file photo)

The Arkansas Racing Commission plans to consider a rule change next week that would legalize mobile sports betting in the state, a spokesman confirmed Friday.

When Arkansas voters approved the constitutional change in 2018 allowing casino licenses to be issued in the state, casinos were allowed to offer sports betting on-premises.

The proposed rule change, a draft of which will be presented to the commission on Thursday, would allow Arkansans to place bets through a mobile app, Department of Finance and Administration spokesman Scott Hardin said.

If the rule change proceeds, officials expect the full approval process – which includes a 30-day public comment period, the commission’s formal vote on whether to approve the change and legislative approval – to be complete in late January or early February. That means Arkansans could be placing mobile sports wagers by February.

Hardin said sports books have operated successfully at each of the state’s casinos, and Arkansans have expressed an interest in the possibility of mobile wagers.

“Now that that’s in place, this seems like a natural step,” he said.

Read Saturday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for the full story.