International Game Technology (IGT) got the green light from the Quapaw Nation to introduce their technology into their Sacracen Casino Annex in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The American Indinan  Tribe of Quapaw is expanding their gambling operations and are now using the sports betting technology at their gambling enterprises. IGT also procured the contract for a new gambling structure that is being built next to the Sacracen Casino Annex.

The new Sacracen Resorts, is set to have a grand opening in 2020. Enrico Drago, the Senior Vice President of IGT PlaySports, said his team had been working really hard, to be ready for implementation at the Sacracen Casino. Because of the team’s round the clock work ethic they were prepared to make their entry at a ‘super accelerated pace.’ Druan said adding Arkansas to it’s ‘IGT’ family is very exciting for the company.

What is IGT?

IGT is a major player in the sports betting technology industry. Duran said their software is in use in ten states.  In addition to Arkansas, Iowa, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, Rhode Island, and Nevada.

Legal sports betting in Arkansas was given the red light in July 2019. The first venue in the state to have legalized sports betting was Oaklawn Racing Casino in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The ‘Natural State’ was the night state to allow legal sports betting, after the Supreme Court struck down banning the industry in 2018. July 1, 2019 was when the bill became legal in Arkansas, and people showed up in full force to execute their rights to place legal sports bets in the state.

Oaklawn Casino, had what is called ‘a soft opening’, just to make sure all the issues could be ironed out before larger amounts of people engaged in the industry.  In addition to ironing out the kinks, the staff had to get ready, and understand all the intricacies of their new platform. In prior years fall tended to be very quiet at Oaklawn Casino. For sports betting, it’s the busiest time of the year, with college and professional football betting.

A representative for Oaklawn Casino said, ‘between SuperBowl and March madness, our racing product is the best in the country, so we think it’s one stop shop for everybody.’In years past casinos around the country made a very small amount of revenue from sports betting, less than 3%. However, 3% percent for Oaklawn will casino will bring in more than $60 million in wagers. The casino is expecting sports betting to bring in new customers. Right now Texas and Oklahoma do not have legalized sports betting.

What’s Next?

Harry Smith general manager of Oaklawn Casino says they will be having a ‘regional draw’ now that they offer sports betting. Smith said this is just the first phase of the expansion that they are planning. Oaklawn believes they can be a model of what a one stop shop for gaming should look like. Smith also believes with all the things going on at the resort, there is now something for everyone.’