The Natural State’s first month of combined mobile and retail sports betting was a modest success, with more than $10.6 million in handle during March.
The state’s first mobile sports betting site launched March 7 when Southland Casino of West Memphis opened its Betly.com desktop site.
The state’s handle saw a 74.3% jump, month-over-month, from February’s retail-only total of $6.131 million. And March’s $10.6 million in handle topped the state record of $9.5 million set in October 2021.
Mobile Arkansas sports betting handle during March was $3.298 million, which should only increase as the state’s other two casino operators (Saracen Casino Resort and Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort) come online.
March’s elevated sports betting handle in Arkansas was spurred on by the Razorbacks’ Elite Eight run in the men's NCAA Basketball Tournament, which saw them knock off Vermont, New Mexico State and top overall seed Gonzaga.
Here’s a breakdown of March’s inaugural mobile sports betting handle for the state of Arkansas:
Arkansas Sees Large Spike in Handle, Net Win in March
March was a good month for sports betting revenue in the state, at least on the retail side.
The state reported a sports betting net win (revenue) in March that amounted to $791,848 — an 82.1% increase over the $434,761 raked in by operators in February.
But the first mobile sports betting revenue figure was minus-$32,155.
The three state casinos — Southland, Oaklawn in Hot Springs, and Saracen in Pine Bluff — received two mobile sports betting skins apiece. But no national operators have entered the market after the Arkansas Racing Commission approved a rule mandating local casinos get 51% of profits when partnering on a mobile application.
Saracen Casino had hoped to launch its mobile site in early March, but posted on social media April 6 it was, “in a waiting game with external vendors.” Oaklawn was targeting a launch in the April to June timeframe.
With national players like BetMGM Sportsbook on board, neighboring Louisiana took in $238 million in handle in February, the state’s first full month of mobile sports betting, and another $232.7 million in handle for March.
Where Arkansas Sports Betting Goes from Here
Arkansas’ fledgling mobile sports betting marketplace should receive a shot in the arm as the year progresses.
From there, the state’s market can keep its eyes on September, when the Razorbacks take the gridiron in Year 3 of the Sam Pittman era.
Pittman led Arkansas to a 9-4 record in 2021, guiding the Razorbacks to their first bowl game in five years and their first victory in such a game since 2015.
Then you have the Razorbacks men’s basketball team, which is among the early betting favorites to win the 2023 NCAA title, which would be the program’s first in 29 years.