Arkansas to consider sports betting despite Governor opposition

11 September 2018

Arkansas will consider a constitutional amendment that would authorise four casinos and enable them to offer legal sports betting, but New York looks set to miss out on regulating sports wagering until next year.

The Secretary of State of Arkansas has confirmed that the initiative will feature on the November 6 general election ballot, despite Governor Asa Hutchinson having declared his opposition to the effort.

Should the motion pass, the Arkansas Racing Commission would be able to issue casino licences to applicants in Jefferson County and Pope County, as well as Southland Racing Corp. in West Memphis and Oaklawn Jockey Club in Hot Springs.

Current Arkansas state law only permits electronic casinos at Oaklawn Park and at the Southland greyhound track in West Memphis, according to the Gaming Today website.

Leslie Bellamy elections director in the secretary of state’s office, said that the measure, which will be marked as Issue 4, is possible after sponsors turned in 99,988 valid signatures of registered voters. Amendments require a minimum of 84,859 signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Meanwhile, New York looks set to miss out of legalised sports betting until 2019.

There has been much talk around New York moving to regulate sports betting in the wake of the Supreme Court decision on PASPA, and it was recently revealed that New York Jets NFL American football team, which is based in New Jersey, is on the look-out for a gambling partner.

However, a casino source told the New York Post newspaper “casinos will clearly miss this football season”. The NFL season kicked off earlier this month and runs through to the Super Bowl in February.

The New York State Gaming Commission is believed to be close to releasing its regulations for land-based sports betting, although the regulator was this month warned by the Citizens Budget Commission against high taxation rates.

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