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Arkansas finance leader expects mobile betting to slam dunk during March Madness

A spokesperson for the Arkansas Racing Commission says he'll be shocked if the state doesn't see more than $40 million in wagers this month.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — March Madness is here, which means another big month for mobile sports betting in Arkansas.

"If Arkansans want to place a wager online or via mobile device, this is the first year that they can do that," Spokesperson for the Arkansas Racing Commission, Scott Hardin said.

The First Four and the first round of the NCAA Tournament begin this week, and Hardin said all bets are off when it comes to the amount of revenue Arkansas casinos could make.

"Overall last year, we had about $186 million wagers on sports," Hardin said. "$122 million of that was through a mobile app."

Before mobile sports betting was legalized in Arkansas, Hardin said the state could see between $8 million to $12 million wagered on in-person bets per month.

Now that it has been legalized, January 2023 alone saw $32 million wagered online.

"The mobile option is changing the game," Hardin said.

We compared 2022 March Madness numbers where Hardin said about $7.4 million were wagered in person.

Nearly $3.3 million in bets were placed online, and Southland Casino in West Memphis was the only casino with mobile sports betting at the time.

In total, more than $10 million were wagered in March 2022.

Hardin expected the state to surpass that.

"I'm going to be shocked if we don't see $40 million plus wagers this month," Hardin said.

He also said that these numbers can contribute to tourism growth in Arkansas.

"Surrounding states that don't have sports betting," Hardin said."We're seeing some sports betting tourism where people drive into the state."

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