The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in a case challenging a federal law that prohibits sports gambling except in four states grandfathered in when the law was passed. Only Nevada has full sports wagering, with bettors can bet on the outcome of a single game. The case arises from New Jersey, which is trying to get into the business.
If the Supreme Court strikes down the law — and early reports say questioning by justices today signals at least the possibility — all the states could pass laws to enable sports gambling — college and pro, which both the NCAA and professional leagues have fought.
A gambling consultant estimated recently that 32 states would legalize sports gambling within seven years, with Arkansas coming toward the end of a seven-year period.
The company’s estimates of when particular states might offer sports betting were determined by weighing questions including whether a state already has pending legislation, if there are Constitutional obstacles to expanding gambling, whether their gambling industry is united or divided, the general legislative attitude toward gambling as it exists now in a particular state and how badly a state needs extra money.
Arkansas ripe for gambling? Sure, particularly if the casino/racetrack operations at Southland in West Memphis and Oaklawn in Hot Springs decide they want a piece of it.
In a state that nominally bars gambling by Constitution, we have:
* Parimutuel wagering at the dog and horse track.
* Horse race and dog race wagering around the world by simulcast at the tracks.
* On-line wagering on races through track-provided betting services.
* Awards of prizes worth hundreds of dollars at arcades with games of skill and pure chance (Dave and Buster’s).
* Smaller gambling prize limits at lesser arcades (the so-called Chuck E. Cheese law.)
* Full casino gambling at Southland and Oaklawn.
* A state lottery.
* Legalized lottery and bingo for nonprofit organizations.
* In 2017 we became only the ninth state to legalize so-called “paid entry fantasy sports.” None dare call that gambling.
* Illegal slot machines and other forms of gambling tolerated in scattered jurisdictions.
The legislature has favored most of this and they’d love to have a revenue source that came from a sin tax, unlike a tax on income or property.
The camel has a lot more than its nose in the Arkansas tent when it comes to gambling. If Oaklawn or Southland could add sports betting to its wireless offerings, you think they might be interested?