The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported last week that the state’s Racing Commission intends to consider a rule change that would legalize sports betting via mobile app.
Under Amendment 100 to the Arkansas Constitution casino gambling — including sports betting — currently is offered at Oaklawn, Southland, and Saracen casinos.
The rule change effectively would let Arkansans who are 21 and older place bets of sporting events from anywhere in the state via a mobile app.
Here are a few key points to remember about sports betting and mobile gambling:
First, it’s impossible to monitor online gambling to be sure all state and federal laws are being followed. No matter how many safeguards and security features are in place, it’s impossible to guarantee that children won’t gamble via these smart phone apps.
Second, when voters passed Amendment 100 in 2018, they were authorizing casino gambling at certain locations in certain counties. This rule change would permit mobile sports betting from any location in Arkansas. That probably isn’t what voters who supported the casino amendment back in 2018 had in mind.
And third, people who gamble online face a serious risk of developing a gambling addiction. Some research indicates that people who engage in sports betting are twice as likely to suffer from gambling problems.
Bottom line: Mobile sports gambling is a bad bet for Arkansas.