Arkansas officially joins today the list of US states where commercial casino gambling is legal and available
Two state race tracks are set to launch today full-blown casino gambling offering after their license applications were issued by the Arkansas Racing Commission late last month.
A constitutional amendment that was approved by Arkansas residents at a statewide vote last November enabled Oaklawn Racing & Gaming in Hot Springs and Southland Park Gaming and Racing in West Memphis to transform into full-scale casino properties and to offer slot machines and table games.
It is also important to note that Oaklawn Racing & Gaming will now operate as Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort. The property’s rebrand was unveiled late last month in anticipation for today’s official launch of casino gambling.
Following the approval of Amendment 100 last November, Oaklawn owners announced a $100 million expansion of the property’s existing amenities. The expansion will include 28,000 square feet of additional gaming space. Oaklawn will look to complete the casino expansion prior to the 2020 live racing season.
In addition, the property’s expansion will also see the addition of a 200-room hotel with a spa and wellness center, a 14,000-square-foot multi-purpose event and entertainment center, and additional dining facilities.
Oaklawn has added eight table games to its 1,300 slot machines ahead of its official conversion into a full-scale casino today. As for the Southland race track in West Memphis, it will operate 2,000 slot machines and 40 table games from today.
Sports Betting Coming to Arkansas
Aside from the addition of full-blown casino options, Amendment 100 has also authorized the provision of sports betting services. Both Oaklawn and Southland have indicated that they will take advantage of the opportunity and will operate sportsbooks.
According to a news release from late last month, Oaklawn will be adding sports gambling in the coming weeks.
However, sports betting might not come to Southland as soon as the property’s owners have previously indicated it would. The race track and now full-scale casino began promoting the upcoming debut of its BetLucky Sportsbook earlier this year.
News emerged this past Friday that Southland’s owner – casino and hospitality expert Delaware North – has cut ties with its exclusive sports betting partner. This will imminently delay the start of sports betting at the race track. In a statement announcing its decision to end its partnership with Miomni Gaming, Delaware North said Friday that it has begun its search for a new betting technology supplier, but warned that the process could take several months.
Delaware North parted ways after sports betting operations abruptly stopped at its two casinos in West Virginia on March 6. The two properties as well as the local BetLucky mobile app have been unable to take wagers since then.
Aside from the addition of sports betting, the gambling and hospitality operator has also announced a $250 million expansion at Southland. What has been dubbed as one of the largest privately funded projects in the state by Gov. Asa Hutchinson will include a new 300-room hotel and an expanded gambling complex, among other things.
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