sports betting expands in the southeast

Together with 7 other sports betting states, Arkansas has finished organizing the infrastructure to get sports betting with no deposit bonus codes up and running at the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs. Meanwhile, an online sportsbook has launched in West Virginia to give WV residents an extra wagering opportunity.


Following a state referendum to legalize sports betting in Arkansas, the Arkansas Racing Commission has given formal approval to the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort to open a sportsbook at the track.

The Hot Springs property is the first – and so far the only – gambling venue to offer regulated wagering in Arkansas. Sports betting was legalized in November of last year via a constitutional amendment that gave the state the power to regulate sports betting in the state.

The Oaklawn facility has already begun construction on a $100 million expansion at their property to house the sports betting venue. The expansion will involve an extra 28,000 square feet of gaming space.

All totaled, four casino licenses will be granted in the state including full-fledged casino licenses for both Oaklawn and Southland Gaming and Racing in West Memphis. However, to date, Oakland is the only property to submit a sports betting application. After the Commission approved the application, Oakland became the state’s first legal sportsbook. The state is awaiting additional applications from the state’s other casinos for licenses to operate online sportsbooks.  

In addition to sports betting, Oakland will offer table games such as craps and blackjack. Sports betting will be added in the coming weeks – the sports book will be incorporated into Oakland’s existing racebook and will be featured on the casino floor. Oakland plans to add three video walls and self-service kiosks to handle the bets.

A second facility that was due to receive a sports betting license, Southland Gaming and Racing, hasn’t set a target date for launch.

West Virginia

West Virginia launched sports betting last year and now it’s set to become one of the first states in the country to launch a sports betting app. West Virginia is one of the few states that will incorporate sportsbooks and online gaming. West Virginia’s first months of sports betting action has been mixed, with profitable months alongside months of free-fall. The introduction of online betting should, officials hope, bring stability to the industry in the state.
Currently there are 7 brick-and-mortar casinos in West Virginia. One casino offers dog and horse racing betting. West Virginia also has a lottery system which features scratch-off tickets and multistate lottery ticket drawings as well as parimutuel betting.
The largest WV casino is the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. The Hollywood Casino features 100 gaming tables, 3,000 video lottery terminals and 25 poker tables. When neighboring Maryland opened the MGM National Harbor, WV lost much of its gambling business.

West Virginia was one of the first states to legalize sports gambling. Sportsbooks became legal in the Mountain State last September and the first mobile sports betting app launched in West Virginia in December.

To date, mobile sports betting in West Virginia has weathered a number of challenges. Two casinos with mobile apps for sportsbooks, the Mardi Gras Casino and the Wheeling Island Casino, shut their online operations, due to problems with third-party vendors. At the Charles Town’s Hollywood Casino, a soft launch of a new sports app, which debuted at the end of May, has been moderately successful. That app is operated by DraftKings, the Daily Fantasy Sports operator which is operating a successful sports app in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The DraftKings sports app has proved successful in other states and West Virginia officials are hopeful that the launch of the DraftKings app will bring some needed revenue to the state. The DraftKings sports app has a geolocation device to ensure that bettors are located within state boundaries when they place their wager. 

The state is hopeful that the DraftKings app will revive the industry for the state. In June, sports betting revenues dropped to $9.5 million from the previous month’s high of $10.7 million.  In addition to DraftKings, the state regulator has awarded online sportsbook licenses to FanDuel Sportsbook and William Hill sportsbook.



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