Online sports betting is officially underway in Arkansas.
Mobile wagering was legally allowed to start in the southern state on Friday. And, on Saturday, Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis announced it had launched its Betly online sportsbook, which is the same brand as Southland’s retail book.
The digital version of Betly is only available at the moment using a web browser (at www.southland.betly.com), but Southland said mobile apps for Android and Apple devices are expected soon. New Betly users are being offered a risk-free first bet of as much as $250 to sign up with the bookmaker.
“The Betly online sportsbook will make it even easier for our patrons, all Arkansas residents and visitors to the state to wager on their favorite teams,” said David Wolf, president and general manager of Southland Casino Racing, in a press release. “Many patrons are already using our Betly sportsbook kiosks at Southland, so the online sportsbook will be a familiar and convenient extension of our sports betting experience.”
In line for online
Betly is the first legal online sportsbook in Arkansas, the launch of which comes after lawmakers only recently signed off on casino rules permitting statewide mobile wagering.
The rules now allow the state’s three casinos to have in-person sports betting and up to two individually-branded online sportsbooks. The online operations can also be run on behalf of the casinos by third-party operators.
Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff is expected to launch its Bet Saracen app soon. Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs has taken a more “conservative” approach and has said it will launch at some point in the first half of 2022. A future fourth casino in Pope County will have the same options.
Southland, however, is the first out of the gate with a legal online sportsbook in Arkansas. The casino is owned and operated by Delaware North, a privately held hospitality company.
Delaware North developed the Betly online sportsbook and mobile app for Arkansas through its joint venture with Belgian betting company Gaming1, the press release noted.
Southland's owner also operates both retail sportsbooks and Betly in West Virginia, as the company runs two casinos in that state.
“We strived to make Betly very fun, user friendly and unintimidating as an ideal first experience for people wanting to get into sports betting,” said Luisa Woods, vice president of marketing for Delaware North’s gaming division, in the release. “Its innovative features are specifically designed to engage and entertain sports fans, but we use familiar terminology and aren’t pushing high-dollar offers that can scare casual sports fans away. And, most importantly, this is coming from Southland, a trusted brand with local roots.”