PINE BLUFF, Ark. – If you prefer slots, tables or the sportsbook, your mission when going to the casino is to have fun and cash out.
A lot of money has been spent and made in Arkansas since mobile sports betting became legal last March.
The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DF&A) said since the launch in 2022, Arkansas has collected nearly $3 million in tax revenue with the majority of that money coming from your phone.
Neal Atkinson, director of sportsbook operations at Saracen casino in Pine Bluff said this year has been the most incredible thing that he has seen when it comes to sports betting.
Last year the state reached $186 million dollars in sports wagers. $122 million of that was through mobile apps.
As basketball in March tips off, Atkinson says this week, Saracen has broken multiple daily records for bets placed because of the convenience of their mobile app
One better heading inside Saracen Casino says the app is easier for him to bet, “Especially in bad weather.”
Another better says she’d rather bet at home than go to the casino.
In January of 2023, nearly $33 million was bet on sports at Saracen Casino, Oaklawn Racing Casino, and Southland Casino, $26 million of that was through apps.
“A lot of that has to do with how well the Arkansas Razorbacks are doing in their various sports,” Atkinson said.
With the Hogs in the Southeastern Conference Tournament, bets are through the roof, and they are only expected to increase.
“We anticipate a record month in March as Arkansans have the mobile option in place for the first time during March Madness,” DF&A spokesperson Scott Hardin said.
The impact of mobile sports betting goes way beyond basketball in March.
The total wages for the Super Bowl in the last few years never reached a million dollars. “It ranged from $700,000 to $900,000 from year to year,” Hardin said.
This year, it reached just under $3 million.
The DFA says they have seen more sports betting tourism here in Arkansas as well, where people from out-of-state visit to legally bet.
If you have a gambling problem and need help, you can always call the 24-hour national hotline at 1-800-522-4700.