Gaming boom hits Arkansas gambling powers | News
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (KTHV) -- The two biggest gambling spots in the Natural state saw strong financial gains in 2012. Oaklawn and Southland's electronic games boomed from 2011 to 2012.
The low rumble of thoroughbreds racing to Oaklawn's finish line shoots adrenaline through Lee Buxton of Little Rock.
"It's a beautiful sport, the horses are healthy and handsome," says Buxton.
Buxton stops by Oaklawn Racing and Gaming about once a week, and says aside from the sheer enjoyment of sport, the gambling opportunities keep him coming back.
"The betting pools are bigger than some of the tracks during simulcast season," says Buxton.
Oaklawn Assistant General Manager, David Longinotti, attributes good weather to the strong 2012 race season.
"In 2011 remember we had all that bad winter weather, we lost a record number of eight live racing days, 2012, this year we didn't lose any," says Longinotti.
Longinotti believes the better turnout here at the track creates better traffic at Oaklawn's gaming center and ultimately produces more revenue.
"They feed off of each other," says Longinotti.
2012 brought a feast of gaming increases. Oaklawn's 1st quarter electronic gaming increased from by around $150 million in wagers from last year. Southland Greyhound Track also saw gains; they went from roughly $590 million in 2011 to $890 million this year in wagers.
For 60 years Buxton has visited Oaklawn and whether horse racing or now electronic black jack he says he'll be back.
Oaklawn officials say they anticipate some of the highest purses ever for the 2013 race season.