- Bill Would Have Allowed Up to Nine Arkansas Online Sportsbooks
- Right Now, There are Only Three Retail Sportsbooks in the State
- Rules Committee Declined to Hear Sportsbook Bill
Lawmakers denied a hearing for a bill to bring regulated online sportsbooks to Arkansas. State Representative Lee Johnson (R-Greenwood) introduced HB1942 on Monday. The legislature had ten days to advance and pass or fail the bill. However, on Wednesday, the House Select Committee on Rules tabled any further hearing of the bill. Therefore, the 2021 legislative session will not bring Arkansas regulated online sportsbooks.
What Was the Arkansas Online Sportsbooks Plan?
Currently, sportsbooks are legal in Arkansas, but only at three retail locations. There are no online or mobile sportsbooks regulated by the state. The new bill, HB1942, would have changed that.
Under Rep. Johnson’s plan, each of the three retail sportsbooks would receive three online skins. These would have allowed up to nine regulated Arkansas online sportsbooks. Each operator could offer online and mobile wagering throughout the Natural State. Potential bettors would be able to sign up remotely so long as they could prove their identity.
Additionally, HB1942 would have allowed betting on college sports. Currently, collegiate betting is banned, even at the state’s retail sportsbooks.
What’s Next For Arkansas Gamblers?
The official record states that HB1942 was passed over by the Rules Committee on Wednesday. Unless Arkansas has a later special legislative session in 2021, there will not be an online sportsbook launch.
With gambling at Arkansas casinos dropping over $1 billion due to the pandemic, expect a dip in state revenue. Earlier pushes to add up to 16 more Arkansas casinos failed to garner momentum. Neighboring states like, Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi continue to debate whether to add regulated sportsbooks. For Louisiana, who’s voters already approved of betting, it is only a question of how extensive the new scheme will be.