Arkansas Bettors Get No Mobile Option Weeks After Legalization

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Weeks after the legalization, Arkansas online sports betting enthusiasts are without any effective mobile platform to wager on March Madness. They are clamoring for a convenient platform as the initial digital launch is limited to PC and Mac Browsers.

Until March 5, 2022, the residents had to drive to one of the three casino locations to place a legal bet. The law changed in late 2021, received approval in Feb 2022, and saw mobile betting expansion in the Natural State.

Southland Casino Racing was the first to go live on March 5 through its Betly sportsbook site – the first online sports betting operation in Arkansas. But the initial launch did not include mobile apps.

This is Frustrating for Arkansians

When online sports betting was legalized this February, the operators were hopeful to go live soon. Executives at Saracen Casino Resorts were particularly optimistic about launching BetSaracen by the start of March Madness.

The state bettors are irritated over a delayed launch of mobile betting operation as they have missed legal mobile betting on the two NCAA Tournament games of the University of Arkansas.

The University of Arkansas managed to make this week’s Sweet 16 after beating Vermont and New Mexico State.

Arkansas faces No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga Thursday night as a 9.5-point underdog. But many bettors are forced to consider illegal offshore platforms, and those who want to do it legally could use Betly as BetSaracen is not yet live.

Even Betly is Not Without Problems

As of Wednesday, Betly is the Hobson’s Choice for Arkansas online sports bettors as BetSaracen has blamed its “partners, vendors, and testing laboratories” for missing the promised launch.

Betly online sportsbook is currently up and running on desktop browsers, and the users can download it via the casino’s site. But it’s not yet available for iOS users and Android users through the Google Play Store.

So, the Betly sportsbook is not without problems, with many on Twitter complaining about slow withdrawal and payment methods. A lagging registration process has perturbed others, and few complaints have emerged, citing the lack of NHL odds.

Yet, there are some who reported no issues with the platform, saying they have placed bets without facing any issue.

The not-so-smooth launch has raised serious questions over the capability of the local operators in Arkansas. However, the residents hope to see the BetSaracen go live and see how it goes.

As of Wednesday, BetSaracen has not given an updated timeline regarding its mobile betting operation launch. According to the BetSaracen Twitter handle, it hoped to launch “any day now.”

Where Are the National Operators?

Arkansas lawmakers had set a 51% revenue-sharing formula, granting the state’s casinos more than half of the revenue when tethering with a mobile operator.

The average revenue-sharing formula is 5% to 15% in the rest of the country.

It drew criticism from the nation’s leading sportsbook operators like BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel – and the reason why they are not yet in Arkansas.

Days before the proposed rule was passed, it was criticized by the officials representing the national operators who termed it inconsistent with the federal commerce clause. They argued that the state can’t discriminate against out-of-state companies to benefit an in-state company.

The state casinos helped Arkansas Racing Commission prepare rules that would make a close market for consumers. At that time, casino operators had assured the lawmakers and residents that Arkansas sports betting wouldn’t feel a difference between their apps and those of the national giants.

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