Commission may discuss on May 6

Arkansas' Saracen Casino Resort seeks rule change to introduce online gambling

Reading time 1:21 min

Saracen Casino Resort in Arkansas is pushing for an expansion of its gaming offerings with a request to amend state regulations to allow for online gambling. If approved, Saracen, along with the two other existing casinos in Arkansas, would be able to offer a wider array of online gaming options to patrons.

The casino's Chief Market Officer, Carlton Saffa, submitted a formal request to the Arkansas Racing Commission in March, seeking authorization to introduce iGaming in the Natural State. Currently, Arkansas permits online sports betting but restricts traditional casino games like slots and blackjack to brick-and-mortar establishments.

In his letter to the Racing Commission, Saffa emphasized the potential financial benefits of legalizing iGaming, estimating that it could generate over $20 million in revenue for the state within the first year alone. This includes about $12 million in additional state gaming tax revenue, $3.7 million in purse support for the Oaklawn Jockey Club, and $5.6 million for local governments in Pine Bluff and Jefferson County.

Moreover, Saffa argued that legalizing online gambling would facilitate better oversight and identification of individuals with gambling problems, while also dispelling concerns about its impact on foot traffic to traditional casinos.

“Most importantly, amending Rule 5 [to add additional games] would provide a legitimate alternative to those already imposing their products onto Arkansas consumers, without regard for your standards of operation and without regard to your rules regarding minors placing bets,” Saffa said in the letter, as reported by

The proposal is set to be deliberated at the Arkansas Racing Commission's upcoming meeting on May 6, pending inclusion on the agenda. A spokesperson for the Department of Finance and Administration confirmed that the agenda has yet to be finalized.

Saracen's push for online gambling comes amidst a broader trend of legalized iGaming across the United States, with states like New Jersey, Michigan, and Rhode Island reporting record revenues from online casino operations in recent months. If successful, Arkansas would join a growing number of states embracing online gambling as a means to bolster tax revenue and regulate the industry.

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