Arkansas Sees Slight Increase in December Sports Betting

Arkansas Sees Slight Increase in December Sports Betting
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Arkansas saw a modest increase in December sports betting handle, but the lack of mobile sports betting is evident in the low overall numbers, especially with casinos still limiting capacity because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The state had $6.4 million in December handle, up roughly $100,000 from November. The net win from the three casinos in Arkansas was about $1.075 million. The December take resulted in $136,984 going to the state for the month, according to figures released by the state.

The handle numbers in December and November fall in line with the $6.56 million posted in October with all three of the state’s sportsbooks operating.

A possible reason for the decline in November and December is that Tennessee’s all-mobile market went live on Nov. 1. Arkansas bettors can cross into Tennessee, one of its neighbors to the east, and place mobile bets without having to go to one of the three Arkansas casinos, which is required by state law.

Tennessee saw $131.4 million in handle in November, including $27 million in handle in its first week.

During the coronavirus pandemic, some states with an online sports betting market were seeing more than 90% of their bets placed on mobile. There is no sports betting outside of the three Arkansas casinos, which also have capacity limits in place.

Figures for Each Arkansas Casino

December was the first month that all three sportsbooks topped $1 million in handle with Saracen barely sneaking over that figure. Oaklawn took the first legal sports bet in Arkansas on July 1, 2019. The other two sportsbooks opened in 2020.

Southland Casino in West Memphis had the highest handle and revenue among the three sportsbooks in December. The handle at Southland was $3.4 million in December, a decline of about $100,000 from November. Revenue in December at Southland was $590,679, a $30,000 increase over November.

Oaklawn in Hot Springs, which had opened earlier than the other two sportsbooks during the pandemic, had a handle of $2 million in December, a $200,000 increase over November’s handle. December revenue was $239,033, down from November’s $315,600.

Saracen in Pine Bluff, which opened its permanent casino in the fall, showed a handle of $1.03 million in December, up $58,000 from November. It had revenue of $244,559 in December, a big increase from November’s $99,599.

State taxes from each casino in December: Southland ($76,788), Oaklawn ($31,074) and Saracen ($29,292).

EGS Handle & Revenue Up Slightly

In December, Electronic Games of Skill (EGS) saw a slight increase in total EGS handle and revenue from November.

Total handle on EGS for December was $411 million, up from November’s $408.5 million. The December EGS net win was $31.3 million, up from November’s $28.9 million.

Casinos have been operating with capacity limits in place since mid-June.

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