BetSaracen, the online mobile sportsbook product of Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff, is live. Arkansas bettors can now download the app from the Apple App Store, click through download links at the product’s website, or place wagers from the site itself.
“Our Saracen team has worked day and night for months to finally bring a first-class, Arkansas-based sports wagering app platform to the state’s many sports fans,” Saracen CMO, Carlton Saffa said. The launch is being accompanied by a promo by which the sportsbook will match first deposits up to $500 in free play.
For the product, Saracen Casino Resort partnered with sports betting platform provider Amelco UK. Theirs is the second mobile sportsbook to become available in the state, and follows the launch of Betly -the wagering product of West Memphis-based Southland Casino– in March.
Neal Atkinson, Director of Table Games at Saracen, said the casino is still waiting on Visa and Mastercard support for the product, and that they just recently updated the product to have PayPal support, according to THV11 Digital.
— BetSaracen (@BetSaracen) May 10, 2022
“It will get better each and every time we do a new release,” Atkinson said. “We expect to do a lot of upgrading.” The casino executive also explained users can now use direct deposit or a digital wallet in the app.
Atkinson further told the cited source that they expect the new product to help drive revenue for the casino. According to officials, $280,000 in tax revenue was generated last year for their retail sportsbook: 8% of that figure goes to the county and 19.5% to the city the casino is in.
“The state gets its percentage of that, which is going to be a huge benefit, and that’s a big number,” Atkinson told THV11 Digital. “This is the app for Arkansas, this is for every Arkansan, whether you live in the Northern part of the state, the Southern, East or West. This is the app that you want to use.”
Online sports betting in the Natural State became legal on March 4, following legislative approval. West Memphis gaming facility Southland Casino Racing was the first to launch through its Betly sportsbook, which went live just one week after the market opened and right before March Madness.
Now y’all know we wouldn’t launch without a welcome offer! 😎 Try us out and get in on our $500 free play deposit match. For first deposits only! 🏀⚾️⚽️
— BetSaracen (@BetSaracen) May 10, 2022
While the Betly mobile sportsbook first launched only for PC, Mac browsers and Android devices, the product was made available for iOS devices in the Apple App Store last month. “It took a little time to work through the respective app store processes, but now the Betly.com app is readily available for download,” officials announced on April 26.
Earlier reports indicated Hot Springs-based Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort is working “diligently” to also have its mobile platform available to the public, most likely in the coming months. 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.
Southland Casino's Betly, the first mobile sportsbook in Arkansas
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. 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 – and recent launches confirm this.
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.