Oaklawn Casino Opens Sports Betting, Renames “Electronic Games of Skill” As Slot Machines

This week the casino at Oaklawn in Hot Springs began accepting bets of sporting events.

Gamblers will be able to wager on everything from professional golf to NASCAR races and from college football to Olympic events.

Gambling on sports is just a bad idea all around. Athletes already face enough pressure as it is. Nothing good is going to come of it if fans have big money riding on whether or not a 20-year-old college quarterback can throw a touchdown pass.

Interestingly, since becoming a full-fledged casino, Oaklawn has re-branded several of its so-called “electronic games of skill.”

Up until this year, the racetracks in Hot Springs and West Memphis let people gamble on electronic games that, in theory, required some level of skill to play and win.

In 2007 Family Council Action Committee filed a lawsuit over the “electronic games of skill.” Attorneys for Oaklawn and Southland assured people that even though these electronic games looked a lot like casino games, they really weren’t.

Fast-forward to 2019. Now that Oaklawn and Southland can offer casino games, some of these “electronic games of skill” from years past apparently are being re-designated as slot machines.

For example, Oaklawn has offered games like Willy Wonka Pure Imagination and Zeus: Son of Kronos since at least 2017. Once upon a time these were electronic games of skill. Now Oaklawn’s website lists them as slot games.

Arkansas Lottery Giving Students Less Than 18 Cents of Every Dollar

The Arkansas Lottery released its financial reports for the month of May last week.

The report shows the Lottery took in a little over $41.1 million, but paid out less than $8.4 million for scholarships — about 20% of the Lottery’s gross revenue for the month.

So far this fiscal year, the Arkansas Lottery has given student less than 18 cents out of every dollar it has made.

Nationwide, the typical state lottery pays out about 30% of its revenue to education.

Below is a breakdown of the Arkansas Lottery’s income and scholarship funds so far this fiscal year.

Month Gross Lottery Revenue Paid to Scholarships % Gross Revenue
July $42,413,352.70 $5,066,628.73 11.9%
August 40,343,279.62 6,175,998.40 15.3%
September 35,198,809.72 7,783,450.82 22.1%
October 57,575,285.62 11,259,040.31 19.6%
November 37,700,016.00 6,821,411.01 18.1%
December 45,859,642.73 6,650,791.54 14.5%
January,2019 40,574,813.28 7,848,495.62 19.3%
February 41,060,111.75 8,198,257.31 20.0%
March 51,988,380.67 8,552,307.04 16.5%
April 43,951,257.94 8,176,383.34 18.6%
May 41,158,346.08 8,396,193.42 20.4%
Total $477,823,296.11 $84,928,957.54 17.8%

Racing Commission Approves Quapaw Casino in Pine Bluff

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports the state Racing Commission approved a proposal this week for the Quapaw Nation of Oklahoma to build a casino in Pine Bluff.

The commission also reportedly rejected five bids to build casinos in Russellville — including a proposal by the Cherokee Nation Business of Catoosa, Oklahoma.

Last year the Quapaw Tribe and Cherokee Nation spent millions of dollars passing a state constitutional amendment authorizing four casinos in Arkansas.

The amendment makes Oaklawn in Hot Springs and Southland in West Memphis full-fledged casinos, and it lets the Racing Commission authorize two other casinos to operate in Jefferson County and Pope County respectively.

The amendment was written in such a way that wealthy casino corporations already operating out-of-state have an easier time meeting the criteria for running a casino in Arkansas.

As we’ve written before, counties with gambling in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi continue to struggle with poverty, despite promises that casinos can be an economic boon.

Photo By Ralf Roletschek [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons.