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Arkansas issues two cease and desist letters for multiple sports betting operators



Hot Springs, Arkansas – State representatives in Arkansas are working hard to keep illegal gaming out of the state. This week, Underdog Sports Holdings and SidePrize LLC, two daily fantasy sports providers, received a cease and desist order from the Department of Finance and Administration (DFA).

According to Trent Minner, an administrator with the Arkansas DFA, the state has benefited greatly from internet sports betting. It has been difficult to regulate daily fantasy operators, he said.

“Seeing daily fantasy sports operators pivot to traditional sports betting, player prop bets,” Minner said.

Minner claims that because the operators were providing unauthorized sports betting, letters were addressed to them. He claimed that the actions of the operators were against Arkansas Constitutional Amendment 100.

“This issue is about following the law kind of plain and simple,” he said. “We have different laws for playing daily fantasy sports operators. We have different laws for casino gaming and sportsbooks.”

According to Minner, an operator in Arkansas must obtain a license, confirm that players are at least 21 years old, and pay taxes in order to lawfully offer sports betting. According to him, daily fantasy operators that meet those standards are 0–3.

At Saracen Casino, Carlton Saffa serves as the chief marketing officer. He claimed that the gaming sector has many regulations that they must abide by.

“You can’t cross the two, so you’re either a sports book or you’re a fantasy sports operator,” Saffa said.

Daily fantasy sports were around before sports betting became allowed in the state, according to Saffa. He added that state agents keep a round-the-clock eye on their sports betting activities. Saffa stated that the gambling sector is concerned about the unlawful behavior that is taking place.

“It seems like the biggest threat is online because we are essentially chasing illegal gambling or fantasy sports operating as sports books, not in the back of a gas station in a small town, but instead the back corner of the internet,” Saffa said.

According to Minner, he hopes that the cease and desist letters serve as a firm reminder to sports operators to abide by Arkansas law.

“The biggest thing is protecting Arkansas children, underage Arkansans that are under the age of 21 which is something that we care about here at DFA and I think most Arkansans care about too,” Miner said.

According to Minner, since online sports betting became allowed, this is the first cease and desist letter they have sent out. He added that the New York Gaming Commission fined a sports operator millions of dollars this week.

“Earlier this week one of these operators had a 15 million dollar settlement with the New York Gaming Commission,” he said. “We’re kind of seeing this pick up, we’re seeing more unlicensed sports betting on the internet.”

According to a DFA representative for Arkansas, $186 million in sports wagers were authorized in 2022. The state’s tax revenue came to $2.5 million. $404 million was wagered on sports betting legally last year. The amount of taxes collected by the state was $5.33 million.


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