Arkansas: Sports betting handle reaches new record at $33M, driven by online growth

The state of Arkansas set new sports gaming records during January. The state’s Department of Finance and Administration revealed an all-time high sports betting total handle of $33 million, a 6.6% increase over December’s numbers, which were the previous record.

Meanwhile, mobile-only sports betting handle was up 3.9% from $25 million in December to $26.1 million in January, also setting a new record for the state. Overall wagers placed since sports betting launched in Arkansas in January 2022 are up 292%. 

A spokesperson for BetArkansas stated that the launch of mobile sports betting has supported the “astronomical” rise in wagering handle. “As this market reaches parity with its peers, it may be a formidable competitor with other states,” the person noted.

The state’s take, net sports betting win and mobile sports betting win totals, were down 15.9% and 17% respectively. “This has also happened in other states with legal sports betting, and can be explained by a variety of factors, including sportsbooks offering promotions, and bettors winning higher payouts,” the spokesperson explained. 

However, going forward, the state could see more record-breaking numbers in the months ahead after Super Bowl and March Madness wagers are reported.

The Arkansas Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee approved mobile sports betting through the state’s three existing casinos in February 2022. Southland Casino Hotel in West Memphis launched its mobile betting app, Betly, in March last year. Saracen Casino Resort joined the market in May 2022, with its Bet Saracen app; and Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort went live with Oaklawn Sports last September.

The Arkansas mobile sports betting model is rather unique in the US, as it requires 51% of the net revenue to be reserved for the casino, much higher than the average national rater. National sportsbook giants such as FanDuel and DraftKings had argued against that rule before the Arkansas Legislature adopted it in February.