Feb 16, 2024 - News

Arkansas warns fantasy sports operators

Illustration of a foam finger holding hundred dollar bills

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) warned owners of fantasy-sports betting sites Underdog Fantasy and PrizePicks against operating in the state.

Driving the news: DFA officials believe the two online gaming sites are offering unlicensed sports betting in violation of a section of the Arkansas Constitution. The agency has sent cease-and-desist letters to both companies.

Context: "Fantasy sports operators offer a version of the traditional fantasy football concept with a consumer creating a team and points being assigned based on performance. The consumer creating the best-performing team is rewarded," DFA said in a news release.

  • "In the last year, these operators have offered a product associated with sports betting: player prop bets."
  • Prop bets are wagers on an occurrence or nonoccurrence during the game — like the coin toss outcome.

State of play: Arkansas allows licensed fantasy-sports websites to operate, although they must verify the bettor is 21 or older.

  • Fantasy operators pay an 8% privilege tax based on their gross revenue.

Of note: The only legal way to wager on a live sporting event in Arkansas is at one of the state's three licensed casinos or via the apps they offer.

By the numbers: More than $404 million in bets were placed on sporting events through Arkansas' three casinos in 2023.

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