Arkansas Casinos Offer Gambling on College Basketball, Professional Sports

Southland casino in West Memphis is offering sports betting ahead of Super Bowl Sunday, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Journalist Mike Wickline reports,

The casino’s retail sportsbook began accepting wagers on Sunday’s big game, NBA games, college basketball, NASCAR racing, PGA tournaments and more, Southland marketing manager Natalie Carlson said.

Sports betting is also offered at the Saracen casino annex in Pine Bluff — which is operated by the Quapaw Tribe out of Oklahoma — and at Oaklawn’s casino in Hot Springs.

Sports betting poses a real threat to sports leagues — especially at colleges and universities. It threatens to undermine the integrity of school athletic programs.

In 2017, Arkansans reported nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in gambling losses on their income taxes, according to the Department of Finance and Administration.

Simply put: Casino gambling and the state lottery are sapping hundreds of millions of dollars out of Arkansas’ economy every year.

Slot Machine Group Spends Nearly $235,000 On Ballot Effort

According to reports filed with the state Ethics Commission, the group Arcade Arkansas has spent $234,784.49 on its effort to bring more casino-style gambling to Arkansas.

Arcade Arkansas is collecting petition signatures for a ballot measure that would legalize gambling machines as part of the Arkansas Lottery.

As we said last summer, this amendment will bring casino-type gambling machines into convenience stores and eating places all over Arkansas. 

It will turn the corner convenience store into a casino and create hangouts where people can gamble 24 hours a day.

The amendment allows up to 15,000 gambling machines statewide with little or no oversight to prevent fraud.

Since August, Arcade Arkansas has raised nearly $239,000 for its effort, and it has spent nearly $235,000.

Most of this money has gone to pay petition canvassers and consultants.

The fact that Arcade Arkansas is spending so much money on its petition drive means there’s a very strong possibility the group will gather enough signatures to place its amendment on the ballot this November.