Retail casino in Arkansas submits request to authorize iGaming

Arkansas iGaming Amendment
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A brick-and-mortar casino in Arkansas is reportedly aiming to provide online wagering for its patrons.

Saracen Casino Resort has submitted a request to the Arkansas Racing Commission to amend state gaming laws to authorize iGaming in the Natural State, according to The request, submitted in March by Saracen Chief Market Officer Carlton Saffa, seeks to make Arkansas the first jurisdiction in the region to legalize iGaming.

Last month, Rhode Island became the seventh state to legalize online casinos in some capacity joining New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Lawmakers across America are hesitating to legalize iGaming in their respective markets due to cannibalization concerns with retail casinos. Despite the concerns, iGaming in Arkansas is projected to generate an additional $12 million in taxes annually, according to Saffa. The Natural State already benefits from a gaming market that includes online poker and daily fantasy sports and could further improve profits with the addition of iGaming.

“People in Arkansas are already gambling in online casinos, and those companies are not regulated or taxed by the Arkansas Racing Commission,” Saffa told “Those companies are not held to the standards the people of Arkansas set forth for operators.”

Arkansas lawmakers would need to amend ARC Rule 5 to make iGaming a reality.

“Doing so would provide significant tax revenue to government, and, just as important, ensure that operators be held accountable by the government. Given that we have seen online operators in the fantasy sports space ignore cease and desist demands from the state, merely attempting to police the matter is not a workable solution,” added Saffa.

Earlier this year, the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration sent cease and desist letters to Underdog and PrizePicks for their pick’em-style contests. The player prop-like contests are considered betting, which violates Amendment 100 to the Arkansas Constitution. Arkansas allows traditional DFS under the protection of Act 1075.

Promising opportunity in Arkansas

Saracen is aiming to legalize iGaming in Arkansas as legalized markets report record results.

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) reported in January a monthly record of $183.3 million in iGaming wins, a 19.9% increase year-over-year. The DGE saw total gaming revenue in January reach $559.1 million, a 28% uptick year-over-year.

A month later, the Michigan Gaming Control Board posted $188 million in gross receipts from iGaming operators. The results surpassed January’s previous record of $181.9 million.

Licensed iGaming operators in Michigan reported $33.8 million in taxes and payments.