Legislature makes mobile gambling legal

Wanna bet on it?

The assumption is that you will and the Arkansas legislature followed suit as they approved a measure that would allow Arkansans to have legal, mobile sports betting on their phones and other devices.

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As bookies.com pointed out, in a piece you can read in full by clicking here, it isn’t just for March Madness, that begins next month.

“The 10-day filing period that Arkansas needs to wait through is actually scheduled to expire prior to the start of the Men's SEC Tournament on March 9,” the report said. Meaning it would allow “Arkansas Razorbacks fans to bet on their team” when the tournament starts in Florida.

Sports betting in Arkansas, currently legal in the state’s casinos, generated $69 million in the 2020-21 fiscal year and the number will only go up once it is as easy as tapping a button on your phone.

Arkansas’s measure is a little different though.

“Mobile betting was approved with a regulation which mandates that 51 percent of sports betting revenues must stay with the in-state casinos,” David Caraviello wrote for bookies.com. He noted that it was “a measure that national online sportsbook operators lobbied against” and that Arkansas stood in “stark contrast with rules in other states that have legalized sports betting, which typically keep less than 15 percent.”

It could mean some big numbers for casino owners here as Tennessee has mobile sports betting and it has generated more than $2 billion in revenue since it was legalized in 2020.

And if you think that, well people won’t bet that kind of money here. That simply isn’t true.

When former North Little Rock aldermen Sam Baggett and Cary Gaines were on federal trial in 2010 for, among other things, their involvement with George Thompson, who was a bookie and worked with the Colombo crime family. It was noted at the federal trial Thompson was handling bets as large as $25,000 on a single NBA game. FBI agents, who testified at the trial, never divulged who was making those bets but even more than a decade later, that memory is still bright.