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Arkansas legalized in-person sports betting over 3 years ago, allowing residents of the Natural State to legally bet at any of the state's three casinos. On February 22, 2022, the state Joint Budget Committee announced that they had approved a rule change that allows each of the three AK casinos two mobile sportsbook skins.
The only sportsbook that has been confirmed in the state, as of now, is Bet Saracen. That being said, with an additional five licenses up for grabs, it is a safe bet that the big 4 sportsbooks here in the US, FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and Caesars, will likely be available in Arkansas at some point in early-2022.
FanDuel Sportsbook has the second-largest reach and largest total handle amongst all US sportsbooks. The only two states with legal online sports betting in which FanDuel does not operate are markets that DraftKings has negotiated exclusive rights to.
DraftKings is available in more states than any other sportsbook operator. DraftKings boasts the industry's highest rated mobile app and consistently offers the best bonus offers amongst all operators.
BetMGM is currently licensed to operate in 16 US states and offers online casino and poker in four additional markets. Their current promo code offer is the industry's top rated welcome bonus for 2022 and includes $200 in free bets with any $10 wager.
Caesars Sportsbook is the fastest-growing US operator and currently operates in 15 US states. They recently had the largest total handle in New York over the first month of legal betting. The Caesars Rewards program is the best available and sportsbook users are eligible to earn rewards by betting using the website and app.
With the announcement from the state's budget committee coming only days ago, we do not yet know what specific offers will be available from Arkansas sportsbooks, but do know the types of promotions Arkansas bettors can expect to receive.
Once the winning sportsbook bids are announced in Arkansas, we will start to see pre-registration offers pop up. With these promotions, any Arkansas bettor that signs up prior to the official start date of legal mobile betting will receive a bonus. These offers typically include between $100-$200 in free bets.
Given the popularity of horse racing in Arkansas, the majority of sports bettors in the state should be familiar with how a deposit bonus works. With this offer, the sportsbook will match a percentage of your initial deposit. For example, the current Caesars promo code offer includes a 100% deposit bonus of up to $1,500.
Odds boost offers are the most popular promotion amongst new players as they often require a smaller deposit to receive a large total bonus. The previously mentioned offer from BetMGM is a great example of one of these offers. With this promotion, any new Arkansas bettor that places a $10 wager would receive a $200 bonus that is paid in free bets.
Risk-free bets are extremely popular amongst sportsbooks right now. In fact, the current offers from FanDuel, Unibet, TwinSpires, and PointsBet are all risk-free bet promotions. These range from $500 to $2,000 and include a full refund if your first wager loses. In most cases the refund is paid as a site credit that must be used at least once before it can be withdrawn.
Unlike other states that have struggled to pass the legislation needed to legalize sports betting, Arkansas legislators were able to quickly approve the changes and set a potential start date. Here is a recap of the milestone achievements throughout this process:
January 5, 2022 — The Arkansas Racing Commission approved a set of rules and regulations that provide a pathway to legal sports betting in the state. It is worth noting that representatives from several sportsbooks were present for the vote, including both BetMGM and DraftKings. The rules include a 51% revenue share for the state, a rate that matches what we saw from New York where we have seen record revenue since January.
February 22, 2022 — The Joint Budget Committee approved a rule change that allows 2 mobile betting skins for each of the state's three casinos. With this approval, Arkansas could see its first mobile sportsbooks launch in time for March Madness.
March 4, 2022 - Online sports betting is officially live in Arkansas. As of right now, there is only one online sportsbook available within the state, Betly. Betly has a partnership deal in place with Southland Casino.
With rules established and a potential start date established, the only remaining domino is to identify which sportsbooks will win the five remaining Arkansas skins and how fast they can get approved to launch. We expect to have definite answers to those questions in the coming days, so stay tuned!