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Arkansas casino gears up for Super Bowl Sunday

For the AFC and NFC Championship games, Saracen Casino saw record breaking numbers for mobile bets. They're expecting even more for the biggest game of the season.

PINE BLUFF, Ark. — A big weekend for football fans is upon us.

The National Retail Federation predicts more than 190 million people will tune in to Super Bowl 57.

A portion of those people are likely stocking up on snacks and drinks, but many are also planning to spend money as they place wagers on the game.

This is the first year that people can legally make bets online in Arkansas.

Neil Atkinson is the director of table games and sportsbooks operations for Saracen Casino Resort.

"This is our first Super Bowl where you can legally bet on your phone, computer and other devices," Atkinson said.

He's been prepping for the game since the launch of the Bet Saracen mobile app in 2022.

He said one of the other big advantages to mobile sports betting is people can place bets while the game is going on.

It's something known as live in-play betting.

"You really couldn't do that unless you were on the property," Atkinson said.

About 80% of all the bets that the casino takes on the Super Bowl, he said will happen on Sunday.

So far, the NFC and AFC championships broke a record for the amount of mobile bets the casino handled in just one day.

"We saw 11 times more bets placed on those championship games than we did the year before," Atkinson said.

According to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, at least $122 million were wagered through casino apps last year.

Arkansas also collected more than $2.63 million in tax revenue in 2022.

The majority of that came from mobile betting.

"That money stays here in the state and is reinvested in the community," Atkinson said.

While thousands of people will place bets between now and Sunday, Atkinson still recommends players to bet responsibly.

"Bet with your head and not over do it. Set a budget and keep it fun and entertaining," Atkinson said.

In 2021, Arkansans wagered just under $1 million on the Super Bowl.

The Department of Finance expects several million to be wagered on the game this year.

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