Legal online sports betting in Arkansas began Saturday, as Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis launched a computer-only sportsbook, with a mobile app expected to go live soon.
The Betly Sportsbook, at www.southland.betly.com, is available for use on a PC or Apple Mac anywhere in the state. It is offering a $250 risk-free wager to new customers.
Southland, a casino and greyhound track owned by Buffalo, New York-based Delaware North, said Saturday its mobile app would be available soon for bettors to download on a smartphone.
A Southland spokesperson recently told Gambling.com the mobile app could be available within weeks.
The online sportsbook also is live in West Virginia, where Delaware North operates two casinos.
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In-Person Sports Betting Legal at State Casinos
On-site sports wagering already is legal at ticket windows and kiosks inside the state’s three casinos. However, a recent Racing Commission rule change and legislative approval were required for legal online wagering to begin.
David Wolf, Southland’s president and general manager, said the casino’s patrons have been using Betly Sportsbook kiosks on the property, making the new online sportsbook “a familiar and convenient extension of our sports-betting experience.”
“The Betly online sportsbook will make it even easier for our patrons, all Arkansas residents and visitors to the state to wager on their favorite teams,” he said in a statement.
Wolf said the online sportsbook allows Southland to build upon its investments in West Memphis, including the upcoming opening of a $250 million casino complex and hotel.
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Other Casinos Set to Launch Soon
After recent legislative approval, mobile sports betting became legal Friday. The state’s three casinos had anticipated making smartphone apps available at some point after Friday. Southland’s computer-only launch came unexpectedly on Saturday.
The process to launch a smartphone app requires several customer-protection measures, including verification from payment-processing vendors and app stores.
Carlton Saffa, chief market officer at Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff, told Gambling.com he anticipates the BetSaracen smartphone app being activated in time for the NCAA March Madness basketball tournaments. The men’s tournament begins March 15 at sites across the country.
Saffa told Gambling.com on Saturday he congratulates Southland on their browser-based sportsbook. He added Saracen’s mobile launch would include a “full-featured” project.
Wayne Smith, general manager of Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs, told Gambling.com the property’s mobile app should be available in the April-June timeframe.
“We took a more conservative approach and waited for the Racing Commission and the legislature to give their approval before we started working with our vendor GAN to get our mobile platform ready,” Smith said. “Our mobile platform will mirror the same wagering menu Oaklawn offers its guests on property, which rivals any national brand’s menu out today.”
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