Finding itself in America’s Heartland, and right next door to the largest state in the union, Arkansas is another state in the middle of the country that loves to gamble. The population of the state is not very high (not surprising considering the state location and its types of industry), but what the state lacks in people it more than makes up for in character, and love of their sports teams. While there is no professional sports team in Arkansas, the college teams are the main focus, and the basketball and football teams have had long runs of success at the top level.
Gambling in Arkansas has been a challenge for those residents that like to be entertained with a few bets here and there. Thankfully, the state has had some recent changes take place that should pave the way for more gaming in the state in the coming years. Let’s take a look at the current state of legalized gambling in Arkansas.
Sports Betting in Arkansas
Let’s start with a look at sports betting in the state, as this is the area of gambling that is drawing the most attention in the United States these days.
Until recently, land-based sports gambling operations were not allowed, which was consistent with all other states aside from Nevada. However, in May of 2018, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was repealed by the Supreme Court, opening the door for legal sports betting on a state-by-state basis. While several states like New Jersey were racing to start accepting sports bets, other states had a measured approach.
Arkansas decided to put the fate of sports betting legislation in the hands of voters, and in the mid-term elections of November 2018, the residents voted in favor of extending the gaming laws to include sports betting. What this means from the standpoint of when someone will be able to place a bet is still unclear. There will need to be regulations written, as well as an understanding of which facilities will be awarded licenses. However, this does mean that shortly there will be action on the Razorbacks being taken legally in the state.
It should also be noted here that sports pools are considered to be illegal in Arkansas. This doesn’t mean that you will be arrested for having an entry in your company’s March Madness pool, but it does mean that these could be considered illegal to operate.
Online Sports Betting
When it comes to betting on sports from a computer or phone, the lines are a little more blurry. As it stands now, the coming legislation of sports betting in the state seems to be limited to land-based betting. However, there is no reason that online betting isn’t added to any regulations before they are rolled out across the state.
We will soon be able to review sports betting options for residents of Arkansas and will review all sportsbooks thoroughly.
You can read our full review to see what criteria we follow when recommending sports betting sites, but most importantly, this site is very competitive when it comes to the types of bets being offered and the promotions you can take advantage of to make the most out of your deposits and play. Also crucially important is the speed and reliability of winnings payout and the quality and access to customer service 24/7.
Horse Betting in Arkansas
Horse racing is steeped in tradition in Arkansas. You can understand why if you ever travel to the state – its wide open spaces make it easy to build and operate farms, which means that many horses are bred and trained around the state.
There are two racetracks operating in the state. The first is Oaklawn Park, which has a rich history in the horse racing world. This track hosts the Arkansas Derby, which is the largest horse race in the state – it has a seven-figure purse. The other racetrack in Arkansas is the greyhound track Southland, which runs races all year long in both the daytime and the evening.
From a betting perspective, anyone who heads to either of these tracks will not only be able to bet on the races being run at the facility, but also on races from across the country via simulcast in the racebook. This gives players a chance to bet on a race almost all day depending on what is being run in each time zone.
Online Horse Betting
Unlike many other states where racetracks are not allowed to offer their own online betting site, Arkansas residents can bet with the Oaklawn Park online betting site. This site gives players who create an account the option of betting on Oaklawn races or others across the country. Bettors can also see the races on the site so they can stay on top of the action.
There are other betting options as well, including the Twinspires site owned by Churchill Downs. The management of Oaklawn Park take exception to outside operators poaching their potential customers, but for now, there are no restrictions on anyone in Arkansas betting with Twinspires or any other Arkansas-facing betting sites, including unregulated sportsbooks.
Casino Gambling in Arkansas
Casino gambling had been frowned upon in Arkansas for many years. There were no legal forms of casino games to be found in the state until 2005 when the Local Option Horse Racing and Greyhound Racing Electronic Games of Skill Act was passed into law. This allowed for electronic skill games to be added to the floors of the two racetracks. With no tribal casinos in Arkansas, this is the only option for land-based casino gaming in the state.
The referendum that the residents of Arkansas voted in favor of in 2018 also included wording that would allow not only for casino games to be expanded at the racetracks but would open up two more casino licenses to go out to bid. This is a massive step in the right direction for the state, and we will see more gaming sites and options for residents in the coming years.
Online Casinos in Arkansas
For the time being, there are no local options for online casino games in Arkansas. We expect laws to change in the near future but for now there is no online casino authorized by the state of Arkansas to offer slots and other games to residents.
Lottery in Arkansas
A sure sign of the conservative approach to gaming in Arkansas can be seen in the shocking fact that there wasn’t legal lottery gaming in the state until 2009. At that time, the Arkansas Sponsorship Lottery was born, giving players from the state to enter the huge draws like Powerball and Mega Millions. The proceeds of this lottery go towards improving education options for young people in the state.
Arkansas Gambling FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Arkansas?
At this time, sports betting is not yet legal in Arkansas but following the people’s vote in 2018, it will soon be. Once regulation passes, the Betting News team will review all available sites and recommend the top choices for players in Arkansas looking to bet online.
When will sports betting be legal in Arkansas?
At this time, there is no timeline for introducing legislation to make sports betting legal in the state. We expect that it won’t be too long of a wait for regulated sports betting, especially if neighboring states start to table bills.
What is the best sportsbook for Arkansas?
Right now, there are no regulated sites available to residents of Arkansas, but in general the best sportsbooks are those that offer the best odds and the most games to bet on. Also most interesting are the gambling sites which have a great combination of sports betting, casino and other games for you to choose from.