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Legislative committee gives green-light for Arkansas mobile betting launch

| By Daniel O'Boyle
Mobile sports betting is set to launch in Arkansas, after a legislative committee unanimously approved rules for the vertical from the state Racing Commission.

The Joint Budget Committee approved a set of rules from the Arkansas Racing Commission, after they had been approved by the Rule Review Subcommittee, that would class online sports betting as a permitted form of casino gaming in Arkansas.

These rules remove the requirement that any sports betting patron must personally appear before a casino employee to make a bet, meaning that they can instead bet online.

Casinos – which may receive licences to bet on sports – may partner with sports betting vendors to provide online betting, but these vendors may not receive more than 50% of revenue. Licensees are permitted to launch up to two online brands, and all of these brands must “conspicuously bear the name of the casino licensee with which it is affiliated”.

Sports betting will be taxed like all other gaming, with total gaming revenue up to $150m per year taxed at 13% and any revenue above this threshold taxed at 20%.

In its meeting, the Joint Budget Committee approved the rules unanimously without any debate.

This was the final stage of approval required for the rules, meaning that online sports betting operators may go live in the state once approved by the Commission.

Despite the state not yet offering online betting, Arkansas was among the first states to approve retail sports betting. Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort was the first venue in the state to take bets, through a sportsbook built by SBTech, which was later acquired by DraftKings.

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