Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson indicates that he a mobile wagering initiative if rules such as geofencing are in place.
Hutchinson made this revelation during a luncheon event in Fayetteville on Sunday.
“If they adopt the appropriate rules, I would be supportive of it.”
Geofencing is a technology used to restrict people outside an approved area from accessing gambling sites with their computers or smartphones.
Arkansas has legal sports betting, though it is restricted inside casinos and authorized kiosks. The change of the rules would allow bettors to wager on their smartphones off casino grounds.
Lobbyists representing MGM Resorts, DraftKings, and FanDuel have approached Arkansas Racing Commission about changing the rule. For the sportsbook operators to operate in the state, they must partner with legal casinos.
Hutchinson notes that most sports bets are placed on mobile devices, and for Arkansas to remain competitive, it must factor in mobile wagering. Two states neighboring Arkansas already have legal mobile sports betting.
Tennessee legalized mobile sports betting in November 2020. Since then, Arkansas’ Southland Casino has witnessed a plummet in revenue. Southland is across the Mississippi River, and its largest market is in Memphis, Tennessee.
Louisiana, which also borders Arkansas has legal sports betting, though the Gaming and Control Board is yet to set rules for the gambling to begin. However, that is expected to commence this football season.