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  • Land Based Gambling

    Live Dealer Games
    Casino
    Regulated Since: 0
    Gambling Age: 0
    Live Dealer Games
    Sports Betting
    Regulated Since: 2000
    Gambling Age: 21
    Live Dealer Games
    Poker
    Regulated Since: 2008
    Gambling Age: 18
    Live Dealer Games
    Bingo
    Regulated Since: 2018
    Gambling Age: 21
    Live Dealer Games
    Lottery
    Regulated Since: 2012
    Gambling Age: 21
    Live Dealer Games
    Horse Racing
    Regulated Since: 1929
    Gambling Age: 21
    Live Dealer Games
    Dog Racing
    Regulated Since: 1957
    Gambling Age: 21

    Online Gambling

    Live Dealer Games
    Online Casino
    Regulated Since: 2005
    Gambling Age: 21
    Live Dealer Games
    Online Sports Betting
    Live Dealer Games
    Online Poker
    Live Dealer Games
    Online Bingo
    Live Dealer Games
    eSports Betting
    Live Dealer Games
    DFS
    Regulated Since: 0
    Gambling Age: 0

    Overview

    Arkansas is one of the many states in the US that has chosen to place a number of tight restrictions on gambling activities. The state used to be one of the hottest and biggest gambling hubs in the US with the casino scene in Hot Springs big enough to rival that of Atlantic City or Las Vegas. That all changed when all forms of gambling were banned for a time before some were legalised again.

    When it comes to gambling, Arkansas has played a game of hot and cold over the years. Teasing but never fully embracing the industry and capitalizing on it or developing it to its full potential. Instead, the state has chosen to put many restrictions in place to keep gambling in a tightly regulated box they can control and keep watch over.

    Today several gambling activities are legal within the state but, again, each of these activities come with their own restrictions. The rise of the industry in recent years has resulted in many calling for more liberal and welcoming laws and regulations. Which would include adding more land-based casinos and welcoming more betting options including sports betting.

    Currently, only Live Poker at racetracks, Lottery and Bingo Games are allowed. There is also limited Sports Betting options which are restricted to Pari-mutuel bets on greyhound and horse racing. In recent years Daily Fantasy Sports were added to the legal gambling options which can be enjoyed online along with pari-mutuel bets on greyhound and horse races.

    Times have changed and apart from being one of the biggest sources of entertainment, the gambling industry has the potential to bring in a lot of revenue. Arkansas is a bit more progressive than other states when it comes to the gambling activities they allow, but the strict rules need to be eased.

    Many citizens are hoping that Arkansas will follow in the neighbouring state, Mississippi’s footsteps and take a more liberal approach in drafting new gambling legislation. Hope for such big change seems futile at the current time as Arkansas doesn’t appear to have any intention of easing up on legislation. It appears the past gambling activities has had a big impact on how they determine the future gambling activities allowed. 


    Regulation

    The city of Little Rock, now known as a Natural State, was once considered an American gambling hotspot. Back in the day, it was one of the busiest gambling states but in an attempt to change its hillbilly image, all forms of gambling were outlawed for decades.

    It all started with the Hot Springs, a federally protected reserve in Arkansas. Here gambling was available from just after the Civil war and ran straight into modern times. According to historical events, mobsters had many fights to gain control over the liquor and gambling distribution in this town back in the ’80s. Then in the early 1900s, baseball training camps and tourism resulted in the town expanding. Which in turn led to many visiting the Oakland racetrack. The latter opened in 1880 and has been running ever since.

    The Hot Springs had become a gambling hub by the late 1920s with 10 major and several minor casinos scattered across it. Some say it could even rival the infamous Las Vegas Strip. The fun and games continued until 1947 when a grand jury decided to indict many of the major casino owners. From here the political mood changed and many legal and regulatory issues were brought to light in the Hot Springs.

    All forms of gambling in the Hot Springs was shut down in 1967. This was the year that gambling was declared illegal statewide.
    It was only in 2005 that a Games of Skill legislation was passed to expand gaming at racinos. And in 2008 the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery was started. The allowance for interstate lotteries was only allowed from 2009 with Powerball and Mega Millions in 2010.
    There are currently no actual casinos in the state apart from the tiny casino rooms attached to the racetracks. In these casinos, you will find slot and video poker machines. There are no table games, poker machines or other more traditional casino games.

    According to the laws only social games, charity games and racetrack bets are currently legal within the state. In 2018 some relief was offered to gamblers when live gaming tables became legal again via electronic gaming machines. These included only electronic games of skill including blackjack, Mississippi Stud and Three Card Poker.  With the implementation of Amendment 4 full casino gambling was allowed at Oaklawn Park and Southland Park.

    Sports betting was legalised in 2018 but unlike other states, Arkansas does not allow for sports betting to take place online. 

    Licensing

    Where laws can be quite cryptic, Section 5-66-106 in the 2010 Arkansas Code plainly states: “It is unlawful for any person to bet any money or other valuable thing or any representative of anything that is esteemed of value on any game prohibited by state law.”
    In essence, most forms of gambling are illegal unless the state declares it legal. And while two race tracks are allowed to operate casinos, the laws are so strict that it has led to games being changed completely. Laws against table games especially are so strict that the blackjack, poker and even craps versions found in the state are unrecognisable.

    All forms of gambling within the state of Arkansas is regulated by Arkansas Code sections 5-66-101 et seq. and 23-110 et seq.  According to these sections, any gambling forms are illegal unless the state licenses the games. By law, you have to be 18 years or older to take part in the lottery or horse race betting and 21 or older to take part in slots or other casino games.

    The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery is operated and regulated by the Arkansas Lottery Commission. All funds from the lottery are collected to provide for scholarships and grants to citizens of the state enrolled in public and private non-profit colleges and universities within the state.

    As with many other states in the US, charities in Arkansas are allowed to offer small-scale gambling activities to fund their operations. These are, however, restricted to Bingo and Raffles. Bingo games are solely available as charity games with no state-sanctioned bingo sites operating in Arkansas.

    All casinos and casino gaming within Arkansas is licensed and regulated by the Arkansas Racing Commission. As stated by Act 4 (Amendment 4) the Arkansas Racing Commission shall administer and regulated casino licenses as well as renew them and make sure regulations are followed.

    Arkansas made a constitutional amendment in 2019 allowing for the build of four casinos in the state. These will also be licensed and regulated by the Arkansas Racing Commission. The first of the four was the racetracks who gained their legal license to operated Vegas-style games on April 1, 2019. The new casinos built will be located in Jefferson (Saracen Casino Resort) and Pope Counties (Legends Resort & Casino Arkansas). 

    FAQ

    Is online gambling legal in Arkansas?

    The only legal form of online betting includes pari-mutuel betting on greyhound and horse racing and Daily Fantasy Sports.

    Is Sports betting legal in Arkansas?

    Yes, sports betting was legalized in 2018 but only at land-based establishments.

    Can you take part in Daily Fantasy Sports betting in this state?

    Yes, Daily Fantasy Sports betting was legalized in Arkansas in 2017.

    Can you play table games in Arkansas?

    Yes, the current legislation allows for the gameplay of table games such as Blackjack, Three Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’Em and more.

    Is online gambling covered by state law?

    There is no actual law that refers directly to online gambling however Arkansas Code, Section 5 pertains to most games of chance played for real money.

    Are there offshore gambling sites that accept residents from Arkansas?

    Most foreign operators offering games to US citizens welcome Arkansas residents. There are quite a number of these to choose from at the authorities are not currently hunting them down.

    Is there a lottery in Arkansas?

    Yes, the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery as well as interstate lotteries such as Mega Millions and Powerball.

    Are there land-based casinos in Arkansas?

    Currently, there are two based in Oaklawn Park and Southland Park. Two more are in the works.

    What is the minimum gambling age in Arkansas?

    For lottery and racing 18 or older, for any other casino games 21 years or older.

    Which games can be played at Arkansas casinos?

    The new legislation allows for Vegas-style games, Poker, Slots, Video Poker, Blackjack and more. 

    Casinos and Gambling Facilities in Arkansas

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