PLACE YOUR BEST: Southland in West Memphis is now taking sports bets.

Sports betting began with a “soft opening” yesterday at Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis yesterday, Michael Wickline reports at the D-G:

The casino’s retail sportsbook began accepting wagers on Sunday’s big game, NBA games, college basketball, NASCAR racing, PGA tournaments and more, Southland marketing manager Natalie Carlson said.

While sports betting also is authorized in Mississippi, “our proximity to Memphis gives us an edge in the sports betting market,” she said in an email to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Sports betting was authorized by the casino gambling amendment approved in 2018; the Arkansas Racing Commission voted unanimously over the weekend to approve Southland offering sports betting. It’s the third casino in the state to be authorized by the commission to do so. Oaklawn began taking sports bets last summer. The Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff, still under construction, opened its gambling annex in October with 300 slot machines and sports betting on offer.


Southland’s opening comes with good timing, with the biggest betting event of the year, the Super Bowl, set for this Sunday. KAIT reports:

Southland Gaming and Racing is going for it. At 1 p.m. Tuesday sports betting made its debut in the casino and the timing Southland says is a straight up coincidence with possibly the biggest sports betting game of the year, the Super Bowl less, than a week away.

“Timing is great,” said Jeff Strang, with Southland.

Strang says the sports betting offers a new attraction, increasing the odds more patrons will also come.

“We feed off a population and we’re hoping it’s going to make it more convenient to come here based on time, travel as elsewhere in the Midsouth,” said Strang.