Arkansas betting legislation being relaxed allows for Oaklawn addition
Gambling in the US has been reshaped over the last year. At the tail end of 2018, a new amendment was put in place that allowed for a relaxation on sports betting laws. As such, the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort has taken steps to add to their property. By signing off on the building of a sportsbook and racing complex to be added to their site they have become the first casino based in the south of the US to offer players the opportunity to place legal wagers on sporting events.
The Oaklawn Race & Sports Book will offer players the ability to wager on a wide variety of sporting events including the NFL and the soccer World Cup. There will also be a range of markets on offer to players on each sporting event.
Increasing choice for players
With the ability to place wagers on sporting events added to the Oaklawn building. it means that there is now more choice than ever before. The very first wager placed at the new sportsbook at Oaklawn was a standard money line wager on the Dallas Cowboys to beat the New York Giants when the NFL starts up again in September.
New amendment makes the change
The margin to pass Amendment 100, which was the amendment to allow casino gambling within Arkansas, was extremely tight. Standing at 54 - 46, it’s safe to say that there was almost a voter split. However, it did manage to pass and with its huge range of new games, in addition to sportsbooks betting, were successfully added to the Oaklawn roster. No longer just providing skill-based games, classic casino table games are now also made available to players.
This also meant that new casinos have been authorized to go into development in some neighbouring areas. While it requires approval from the local government, it does mean that casino games and the ability to take part in sports bet at a walk-in venue is now possible at any establishment that holds a licence.
State regulator approvals
The Arkansas Racing Commission, on June 14, gave the green light to Oaklawn to begin sports betting operations from July 1, 2019. On March 23, they got approval for the full casino licenses for the two existing tracks, which under a 2005 state law, offers “games of skill.”
Moving forward quickly
Almost straight after the announcement of the November amendment, the operator of the Oaklawn casino announced their intention to make wholesale investments into the property. With plans including a hotel and a giant centre to be added to the existing development, it will expand on the services that are already offered as well as providing new services. The resort also intends to improve refreshment sectors by opening up new restaurants and a food court. It’s safe to say that without the amendment, this would not be taking place. The work itself is already in progress and is expected to be finished sometime during 2020.
Punters are able to place wagers at the sportsbook section of Oaklawn for 12 hours, between 10 and 10, when dealing with a human cashier. However, they also offer an automated kiosk service which allows for wagers to be placed the entire time that the sportsbook is open. The kiosks themselves are spread out around the site and some of them even include a range of TV sets to make viewing sporting events a possibility.
The technology that powers the sportsbook at Oaklawn is provided by SBTech. They have been the leading company in terms of automated sports wagers in the US for quite a while now. However, this success has made them quite appealing to a number of other companies within the market. There are rumours that SBTech could be changing hands in the near future.
DraftKings is the largest fantasy sports provider in the US, and potentially the world. As such, they require high-quality technology to power their output. It is rumoured that they feel SBTech would be the right company to do this and are in talks to acquire them rather than just paying for their services. If this does play out, it would only solidify DraftKings position on the market moving forward.
Oaklawn is not the only casino who have decided to offer players an improved roster of casino games to players. Southland casino is also in the process of expanding to offer a range of traditional casino games on top of their current game roster. This again comes after the November amendment and is seen as a massive leap forward.
They are expended to begin work on their new casino expansion during 2019 with a huge amount of additional services to be included. Amongst these are a new hotel tower, extra restaurants and an increase in their current games as well as brand new games. The construction is expected to cost over $250 million.