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Arkansans could see delay in mobile sports betting apps

While Arkansas casinos are still hoping to launch their mobile sports betting apps Friday, it could be some time next week before they hit the market.

PINE BLUFF, Ark. — Mobile sports betting has been approved and apps could roll out starting Friday.

For casino executives like Carlton Saffa with Saracen Casino Resort, this is one step closer to something that he's been constantly working towards.

"So Arkansas is lightyears ahead of most of our neighbors and with regards to our neighbor to the east, Tennessee, and our neighbor to the south, Louisiana, we're moving with a much greater sense of urgency. No one wants to turn the app on more than I do," Saffa said.  

Despite that urgency, there's still one major hurdle though and it's not necessarily a bad one.

"You don't want any mistakes to happen, so you double and triple check this. By the way, our double and triple checking is done in parallel with Google's, Apple's and Visa's," he said.

That cross referencing is done to make sure your data stays safe – keep in mind, these apps require very sensitive data.

Some of that data consists of: 

  • Your ID, to ensure you are who you say you are. 
  • Your location, to make sure you live in Arkansas. 
  • Your banking information, to give you your winnings or take what you lost.

"All of those are extremely sensitive and clearly we can pull it off. It's just we wanna make sure it's done right," Saffa said.

Oaklawn is also taking these steps but it'll be a while before their app is released according to General Manager Wayne Smith who released the following statement:

Oaklawn will work diligently to have our mobile platform in the public within the next quarter or so. We took a more conservative approach and waited for the Racing Commission and the legislature to give their approval before we started working with our vendor GAN in getting our mobile platform ready.

Back at Saracen, Saffa said their app is ready to go once they've finished double checking.

"I can tell you, if you're an Arkansan and you consume any kind of media or the internet, you'll know the moment this is live," he said.

So while it may not be launching Friday, as many originally hoped, Saffa said that's okay as it'll still be ready for March Madness.

At the end of it all, the goal is the same for Saracen and the other casinos – keeping your data safe before releasing these apps.

"If it takes a few more days to release it to make sure everything works, that's absolutely the right decision," Saffa said.

Saffa said anyone living in Arkansas can download and use their app 'Bet Saracen' once it's released – and conveniently enough, you don't have to travel to Pine Bluff to register.

You can sign up all through the app once it's released.


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