Gambling laws in Arkansas have changed drastically in recent years. The state voted in 2018 to expand its gambling operations to include casinos and sports betting; Arkansas was previously limited to horse racing and lottery.
Online gambling in Arkansas remains illegal for now and all casino and sports wagering must be done on-site at one of two existing casinos.
Considering the recent overhaul, it’s hard to rule out online gambling in Arkansas in the future. For now, however, Arkansas gamblers should stay away from offshore casino sites. These are not a safe alternative to licensed online casinos in legal states. They are unregulated and that can lead to a number of problems, including ensuring timely payments, customer service issues, personal data security and more.
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No. Real-money online casinos and online sports betting are still strictly off limits for now.
Arkansas does offer legal social casinos such as WinStar, LuckyLand and Chumba. These technically aren’t considered gambling sites because they’re free for players to use. Once a player registers with a social casino, they automatically receive a set amount of tokens and “sweeps coins” to play table games and online slot machines very similar to the land-based versions. They can even win prizes or real cash playing games with sweeps coins.
Consider social casinos the superior, legal online option for now and perhaps Arkansas law will change again to expand real-money online casino offerings in the future.
It’s difficult to say, as there doesn’t appear to be any current legislation moving in that direction. But Arkansas only adopted legal sports betting and approved two commercial casinos as part of a 2018 vote to expand gambling laws.
It stands to reason Arkansas would be open to online gambling down the road, especially considering all the revenue left on the table by going strictly retail-only for sports betting.
|Casino||City||Address||Hours of Operation|
|Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort||Hot Springs||2705 Central Ave||9 a.m.-5 a.m.|
|Southland Casino Racing||West Memphis||1550 North Ingram Blvd||9 a.m.-5 a.m.|
Oaklawn first opened in 1905 for horse racing and was permitted to become a “racino” with electronic games and slot machines in 2005. The 2018 gambling revisions allowed Oaklawn to introduce table games as well and the property now has 1,530 electronic gaming machines including video poker and live dealer table games like blackjack, craps and three-card poker. Oaklawn is also home to one of the state’s two sportsbooks.
Southland has long served as a greyhound racing track that offers simulcast horse and greyhound betting as well. The casino now includes more than 2,000 slot machines and electronic games, table games like craps, Mississippi Stud and blackjack and a sportsbook. Southland also announced in 2019 a planned $250 million expansion to include a 20-story hotel.
Considering the state’s two existing casinos received sports betting licenses, it’s safe to assume Oaklawn and Southland would have first crack at an online gambling licenses in Arkansas. Two new commercial casinos expected to open in the future – Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff and River Valley Casino in Pope County – would also expect to receive online licenses. Both will be permitted to operate retail sportsbooks when they open.
That’s all speculation, of course, with legal online gambling not yet available in Arkansas. Stick with social casinos like Chumba for now and check back for any updates on legal online gambling in Arkansas.
Online casino apps are standard now in states with legal online gambling. Operators would surely like to expand to Arkansas if given the chance, but the state has yet to legalize the practice.
Online casino apps are just a more condensed version of real-money online casino sites. They’re easy to download from an iOS or Android device and allow the user to play table games and online slots from their cell phone.
Online poker is still illegal in Arkansas and probably won’t be available for a few years at the very least. Playing online poker is different than in-person games because you don’t know who your opponents are and you can’t see them. Sharp players who recognize betting patterns will have an advantage, and the rules for games like Texas Hold’em are the same online.
While Arkansas casinos can now legally offer table games like roulette, it’s not an online option for now. The online version of roulette allows players to make all the same bet types they would at a land-based casino like high/low, red/black, even/odd and individual numbers. The process moves a little quicker online as there’s no live dealer having to sort out dozens of bets from different players in real time.
Arkansas casinos offer more than 1,000 slot machines, but they’re only available online at social casinos for now. Real money online slots typically have a higher RTP (Return to Player) percentage as online casinos do not have the overhead of brick-and-mortar casinos and you never have to wait for your favorite slot to open up.
Arkansas has a state-run lottery, but the law explicitly states that tickets must be purchased at land-based retailers and won’t be available online. Some states have expanded lottery to include online offerings and apps where residents can buy and play their favorite games from their computer or cell phone.
With online blackjack players can play a lot of hands in a short period of time and get more comfortable with unique card combinations and situations. That makes things a lot easier once you venture out to sit at a live dealer table at a land-based casino in Arkansas. Until it becomes available, it can be played at most social casino sites, which represents a great chance to practice.
Some gamblers prefer to see a human being dealing cards online rather than an animated computer program. It’s less readily available than other online casino formats but is offered in some states with legal gambling. The rules of games like blackjack are the same. The only difference is a video stream of an actual human dealer. There’s no telling if this would be available in Arkansas even if the state eventually moves to legalize online gambling.
If and when Arkansas ever moves to legalize online gambling, bettors would have plenty of payment options when it comes to making an initial deposit.
Online casinos and mobile apps are much more welcoming these days when it comes to variety of deposit methods. Credit/debit cards are increasingly acceptable and should work for most major companies. Some depositors might run into trouble as some financial institutions still block legal gambling transactions, in which case they should talk directly to their bank to fix the problem.
The Play+ card is a good work-around for those with credit/debit card issues. You can sign up for the Play+ card online and load it up with a credit card or via a bank account. Then you simply transfer the funds to the casino directly from the Play+ card. You can also withdraw winnings back on to the card and access the money at an ATM.
Popular e-wallet PayPal works in similar fashion and is accepted by most top online casinos. Players can use their PayPal accounts to easily transfer funds to the casino site or sign up for a new account and add funds to PayPal in a matter of minutes before completing the deposit.
Other e-wallets, such as Skrill and Neteller, are another popular deposit method. Players can transfer funds from their e-wallet to the casino rather than moving funds from their bank account. Bank transfers and ACH payments are an option as well, but they might take longer than other options above.
The bottom line is that every player should be able to find at least one or multiple payment options that work for them.
Arkansas online casino bettors will be poised to take advantage of new sign-up offers should the state ever legalize online gambling. Most top casinos now offer a variety of bonuses and incentives for first-time players, and you should definitely check out the promotions before choosing an online casino. Remember to always check the terms and conditions.
Free spins are common and highly beneficial for online slot machine players. Basically the casino deposits a certain number of free spin credits in your account upon sign-up. You can use these free spins to play online slot machines and win money without using any of your own deposit funds.
Players looking to deposit $500 or more should consider sites that offer matched bonuses. A matched bonus just means the casino will double your initial deposit up to a certain amount, typically between $500-$1,000. Those bonus funds are as good as money and can be used to play any table game or online slot machine. Players might have to wait to access said funds until they wager a certain amount of their own money, and not all games count 100% toward satisfying the wagering requirements.
Some online sites will offer a no-deposit bonus for new players, which is typically a small amount (around $25) with minimal playthrough requirements.
Refer-a-friend bonuses are also common and extend past the sign-up phase. Online casino users can gain additional bonuses by getting friends or acquaintances to sign up for the same online casino. Once the new player creates an account and wagers a certain amount, the referral bonus funds will be deposited in the first player’s account.
These are just a few examples of many different types of promotions and bonuses for new users. Arkansas gamblers should definitely see what’s out there and take advantage if the state ever implements legal online casino sites.
Arkansas first prohibited gambling in all forms in the late 1800s. The state did allow for horse racing at its lone track, Oaklawn Park, which now operates as a racino.
In 2005, Arkansas changed its gambling laws allowing Oaklawn Park and Southland to operate as racinos with an offering of slot machines and electronic games.
An act to provide charitable bingos and raffles was approved for the first time in 2007, while Arkansas also began its state-run lottery in 2009. The Arkansas lottery has proved highly successful and generated $532 million in revenue for scholarship funds in 2019.
Arkansas passed a constitutional amendment in 2018 to legalize sports gambling and other forms of casino gambling like table games at four locations – the two existing racinos and two planned commercial casinos.
The state took its first sports bet in 2019, while construction began on one of the state’s two forthcoming commercial casinos.
Arkansas takes its first in-person sports bet and breaks ground on its first full-scale commercial casino, two of the most significant developments in the state’s modern gambling history.
Authorities start discussing the options for sports betting, including the potential to have sportsbooks at racetracks. A ballot measure is approved by voters to allow two new gambling facilities, expansions at two existing race tracks and sports betting via all licensed gambling centers. Regulations are reviewed in early 2019 with the first bet expected sometime later in the year.
Lawmakers approve daily fantasy sports regulations.
The state sells its first lottery ticket, one of the last jurisdictions in the nation to do so.
Charitable bingos and raffles are legalized, decades after most other states had already done so.
Facing declining revenues, Oaklawn Racing and Southland Park are permitted to become 'racinos' with a limited supply of traditional casino games including slots.
Hot Springs legendary underground gambling enterprise is effectively eliminated by federal authorities. It had for decades been one of the largest epicenters for illicit gambling in the country.
As Arkansas, along with much of the rest of the country, begins major gambling prohibitions, Hot Springs illegal gambling activities begin in earnest, eventually evolving into a notorious illicit gaming destination.
Arkansas sports betting was first legalized in 2018 after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, giving individual states the power to legalize sports gambling.
The state took its first legal sports bet in 2019 and currently has two retail sportsbooks at existing racinos, with additional sportsbooks planned at two forthcoming commercial casinos.
Unfortunately, the state has not explored legal online sports betting at this time. Arkansas sports gamblers can play at existing retail sportsbooks, which is a big step up from the state’s limited gambling options prior to 2018. But online sports gambling is still a ways off and doesn’t currently have much momentum from lawmakers.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed H 2250, a bill legalizing Daily Fantasy Sports contests, in 2017. That made Arkansas one of just nine states at the time to explicitly allow paid Daily Fantasy Sports contests. While many states are still in a gray area here, fantasy operators like DraftKings and Fanduel are completely in the clear to legally operate throughout the state of Arkansas.
Horse betting has been legal in Arkansas since the early 1900s, with Oaklawn Park serving as the state’s only full-time race track over the past century. Off-track betting is also permitted here and at Southland, a casino and greyhound track.
There’s no telling which sportsbook operators would be available if and when Arkansas legalizes online gambling and sports betting. It’s especially tough to project considering there are only two land-based sportsbooks in the state right now. Casinos in other states with legal online sports betting have partnered with top operators like William Hill, FOX Bet, BetMGM, FanDuel, DraftKings, 888 sport, Unibet and others to offer an online sports gambling platform.
Arkansas hasn’t placed any restrictions on which sports or teams sports gamblers can bet on, meaning the Razorbacks college football and basketball teams are fair game. Additional wagering options include:
No. Online gambling is still illegal in Arkansas as casino gaming and sports betting remain limited to land-based options.
The legal gambling age in Arkansas is 21 for casino gaming and sports betting, and 18 for pari-mutuel and lottery.
Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort and Southland Casino Racing are the only two land-based Arkansas casinos in operation, while plans are in motion for two additional commercial casinos in the future.
Sports betting, casino gaming, horse betting, lottery and Daily Fantasy Sports are all legal forms of gambling in Arkansas
No, anyone within Arkansas state lines would be eligible to gamble online whether they are a resident or not. Casinos use geolocation software to determine a player’s location.
These are probably social casinos, which are perfectly legal in Arkansas and offer a variety of free table games and online slot machines. If it is for a real-money casino site, avoid it as it is an unregulated offshore casino.
Arkansas gamblers can currently make sports bets and play casino games at the state’s two existing racinos.
No. Sports betting is currently limited to physical sportsbooks at existing casino locations.
The Arkansas Racing Commission currently oversees the state’s racinos and sports betting industries and would presumably branch out to online gambling should the state legalize the practice.
Yes. The whole point of legalized real-money online casinos is that they’re regulated and heavily vetted to protect the player and his personal information. Offshore casinos don’t answer to any regulatory agencies and thus aren’t held to any sort of player protection standards
Gambling winnings over a certain amount should be reported as personal income and subject to state tax on a sliding scale up to 6.88%
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