Arkansas just recently began legalizing and regulating casino gambling. According to new reports, the casinos operating here are a major success. Arkansas’ gambling industry is surging right now and many companies are attempting to break into the market.
It’s great news for the state government, which is earning millions of dollars through taxes. Today, we’re going to look at the history of Arkansas’ gambling industry and talk about how much it’s grown.
Let’s get into it!
The Road to Casino Legalization in Arkansas
For decades, Arkansas took a hardline stance on the gambling industry. No casinos were allowed to operate here and those caught gambling were subject to harsh penalties. In November of 2018, this all changed.
That month, voters here approved Issue 4, a constitutional amendment that allows for four casinos to open in the state. It was a surprise for many, as voters here had previously worked hard to keep legal gambling options away. Certain lawmakers attempted to challenge Issue 4 court yet ultimately the amendment was made.
Before long, casino companies began pushing operating here. There are now three casinos in the state. Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs, Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluffs, and Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis. They quickly grew popular with locals and tourists.
The Saracen Casino Resort has just recently begun operating. Before opening to the public, this casino flirted with the idea of banning smoking. Ultimately, this idea was scrapped.
As we’ve already mentioned, several companies have expressed an interest in opening a gambling venue in this state. It’s clear that people see the potential in Arkansas’ gambling market.
Arkansas’ Gambling Industry Continues to Grow
The casinos currently operating in Arkansas are generating serious revenue right now. It’s likely that many more gambling venues will begin operating here over the next few years. Earlier this month, one of the biggest Native American tribes in Oklahoma began pushing to open a casino in this state.
New reports indicate that the Oklahoma-based Cherokee Nation has officially filed an application to begin operating a casino in Arkansas. If all goes to plan, this venue will open in either Russellville or Dover.
The state’s gambling commission will now review this application. In the past, several cities have seen their applications to open a casino rejected. It’s unclear whether or not Arkansas will allow a tribe from another state to start operating a casino here.
Arkansas’ gambling industry broke records in October. That month, casinos generated an impressive $554.4 million. John Shelnutt, the state’s chief economic forecaster John Shelnutt, the state’s chief economic forecaster, claims that October’s revenue report shows “very good growth across all the sectors. We’ll just have to see if it continues at this rate,” he said.
Sports Betting in Arkansas is Also Generating Serious Revenue
Arkansas’ gambling industry is one of the most unique in the country. Just a few years ago, almost no forms of gambling were allowed here. Now, both casino gambling and sports betting are available in the state.
Lawmakers here approved a sports betting bill in mid-2019. In July, the first legal sports wager was placed here inside the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort.
Unfortunately, mobile sports betting is not allowed here. Bets must be placed in-person at a licensed casino.
Revenue from the state’s sports betting industry has been increasing steadily over the past few months. Arkansas is one of just a few states that does not release its exact sports gambling revenue figures. Based on numerous reports, however, it’s increasing significantly.
Arkansas’ gambling industry is one of the newest in the country. Amazingly, it’s already growing bigger than some others that have been around for years.
Stay tuned for more US casino news over the next few months!