Good news for sports bettors in Arkansas: the state’s first mobile sportsbook for iPhones is now live. West Memphis gaming facility Southland Casino, owned by Delaware North, has launched the Betly Arkansas mobile sportsbook, with an app now available for iOS devices in the Apple App Store.
The launch follows the approval of mobile sports betting rules in February. Online sports gaming officially became legal on March 4 after being greenlighted by the state’s Racing Commission, and the Betly sportsbook was initially made only available on PC and Mac browsers last month, prior to March 13, the first day of March Madness.
Now also available as an iOS app, the sportsbook allows bettors anywhere in the Natural State to participate in sports gaming. The sportsbook was previously made available for download for Android devices on March 8.
The wait is finally over, download the official Betly Arkansas app for iOS from @SouthlandGaming and start wagering from anywhere in #Arkansas today! ➜ https://t.co/m1TuM9hQM5 pic.twitter.com/SmphsToEWi
— Betly Sportsbook (@betlysportsbook) April 26, 2022
“It took a little time to work through the respective app store processes, but now the Betly.com app is readily available for download, so everyone in Arkansas who wants to can have fun with ongoing pro basketball playoffs and other wagering opportunities,” said Luisa Woods, vice president of marketing for Delaware North’s gaming division, according to KARK.com.
The casino expects that becoming the first in Arkansas to launch mobile sports wagers will give it a head start in the race. “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,” said David Wolf, president and general manager of Southland Casino Racing, last month.
“Many patrons are already using our Betly sportsbook kiosks at Southland, so the online sportsbook will be a familiar and convenient extension of our sports betting experience,” Wolf added. The PC and Android launch in March came amid a $250 million expansion of Southland Racing’s facilities.
Southland is not the only venue seeking to profit from sports gaming in the state. A manager at Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff said the casino is in the “final stage” of the process of developing its own sports betting app, BetSaracen, according to KARK.com.
Earlier reports indicated Hot Springs-based Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort was working “diligently” to have its mobile platform available to the public. The casino was described as taking a “more conservative approach,” as it waited for the Legislature for final approval before starting work with its vendor to get the platform ready.
Arkansas brought in about $1.2 million in tax revenue from in-person sports betting last year. According to state lawmakers, the new mobile system could lead those numbers to increase three-fold.
Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort
The betting expansion would also allow Arkansas to catch up with regional rivals. Tennessee greenlighted mobile sports wagering in 2020, while Louisiana launched on January 28. Meanwhile, neighboring Mississippi allows mobile sports betting only on casino property, although a series of bills are attempting to expand the practice statewide.
While casinos in the Natural State have the ability to partner with third-party betting platforms such as market giants FanDuel or DraftKings, Arkansans are unlikely to see apps from these brands, at least in the immediate future.
This is due to a provision in the new rule that grants Arkansas casinos more than half of the mobile sports betting proceeds when partnering with these operators. The 51% rate is well above the average 5%-15% share with local casinos in the rest of the country, making it less attractive for heavyweight operators to enter the market.