Just over a week ago, Arkansas casinos were given approval to launch mobile sports betting in early March. Technically, Friday is the first day an Arkansas casino can legally launch its mobile sportsbook, but it might take a few more days for legal mobile sports bets to be placed in Arkansas.
Saracen Casino Resort is expected to be the first of three Arkansas casinos to launch mobile sports wagering. While the casino expects to have BetSaracen live in the near future, a few logistical steps stand in the way of a Friday launch.
“We’re all set on our end,” Carlton Saffa, Saracen Casino’s chief marketing officer, told Sports Handle via email Wednesday night. “We’re in the midst of app store vetting and payment processor approval. Neither could occur before the final vote (in other words the legal authorization), so we’re watching closely for updates. I expect it will be a few days — but from Saracen’s end it’s all set — again, waiting on timelines we can’t control.”
The SEC men’s basketball tournament begins Wednesday, and the NCAA Tournament’s round of 64 begins March 17. Saffa is “confident” BetSaracen will be up and running before March 17.
The University of Arkansas men’s basketball team should draw plenty of action from locals in coming weeks, as the Razorbacks are one of college basketball’s hottest teams with die-hard local fans. Arkansas has won 14 of its last 15 games, and FanDuel — which isn’t expected to enter the Arkansas market in the immediate future due to the state’s revenue-sharing rules — lists the Razorbacks at +1300 to make the Final Four and +5000 to win the national championship.
The vast majority of college basketball programs cannot begin to fathom an environment like this. For @RazorbackMBB, this is four consecutive home games, all victories, in the span of 23 days. Neither its impact or uniqueness can be overstated. #WPS
— Will Roth (@willjroth) March 3, 2022
JD Notae, the team’s standout guard, is +8000 on FanDuel to win the Wooden Award, which is given annually to the best player in the country. It’ll be interesting to see how BetSaracen values various Razorbacks futures as the team enters March Madness.
Other mobile launches ahead
In addition to Saracen Casino, Southland Casino and Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort are both expected to launch mobile sports betting options by the end of 2022. Southland (Betly) told Sports Handle in late February that it planned to offer mobile wagering “in the coming weeks” although no firm timeline has been shared.
As for Oaklawn, the casino is likely a few months away from a mobile sports betting launch.
“Oaklawn will work diligently to have our mobile platform in the public within the next quarter or so,” Wayne Smith, Oaklawn’s general manager, told Sports Handle in late February. “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 in getting our mobile platform ready.”