Arkansas Casinos Bounce Back With Higher July Win Totals

Posted on: August 18, 2021, 01:49h. 

Last updated on: August 18, 2021, 06:24h.

Arkansas casinos rebounded in July, winning millions more combined than in the previous month. The three casinos had experienced a slump in June win totals compared to May.

Southland Casino Racing
A dog sprints down the racetrack at Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis, Ark. Greyhound racing will end next year at Southland. (Image: Memphis Flyer)

The biggest winner in July was Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis.  The casino and dog track won $19.69 million in July or about $3.4 million more than in June. 

Southland’s July total was boosted by its wins on “terminal” devices such as slot machines. The casino won $17.7 million on terminal devices in July, an increase of more than $3 million from June.

The casino also won more in its sportsbook, though bettors wagered less money. The sportsbook handle declined from $1.47 million in June to $1.08 million in July. The “handle” is the amount of money bettors put down on live sporting events. Even with a lower handle in July, the sportsbook won over $49,000 more than in June, once the winning bettors were paid off.

The casino’s results could improve even more in August with the opening of the six-lane Interstate 40 bridge connecting West Memphis to the larger Memphis, Tenn., metropolitan area.

The bridge was closed in May when a fracture was discovered in a primary support beam. The closing of the busiest freight-carry bridge in the US had an impact on commerce throughout the area. Tennessee does not have casinos, making Memphis an important market for Southland.

By early August, the bridge repairs were completed, and the east and west-bound lanes were open again. This month, Southland began conducting interviews for several job openings, with $1,000 bonuses available in some instances.

Next year, greyhound racing is expected to end at Southland, though the casino and other facilities will remain open.

 Oaklawn Win Total Surges 

In Hot Springs, Oaklawn Racing Resort won almost $880,000 more in July than the previous month. The resort’s July casino win total was more than $13.4 million. Hot Springs is about an hour southwest of centrally located Little Rock, the state capital. 

For decades, casinos operated illegally but openly in Hot Springs, until authorities shut the gaming halls down in the 1960s. Oaklawn now is the only place in Hot Springs where casino gambling is legal. The historic horse track at Oaklawn is home to the annual Arkansas Derby, an important prelude to the Triple Crown races.

In July, the resort, which includes a new hotel, won about $10 million more on terminal devices than June’s total of more than $146 million.

Like Southland, the resort in Hot Springs had a smaller sportsbook handle during July than in the previous month. But after the winning bettors were paid, Oaklawn won $66,405 more in July than in June.   

Saracen Sportsbook Win Declines

At Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff, the July casino win of $14.2 million was about $260,000 higher than the previous month. 

The resort won more money on table games in July, but its win total on terminal devices was down slightly. 

Sportsbook bettors were less active at Saracen in July, wagering $577,773. That total was down from more than $1 million in bets placed in June. After winning bettors were paid, the sportsbook made $91,761 in July, a decline from June’s winning total of $117,479.