On May 14th 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) was unconstitutional and in doing so lifted the federal ban on sports betting. Following the court’s ruling, lawmakers in Arkansas opted to put the question of legal sports betting to the electorate and in November 2018, the state’s residents voted in favor of establishing a regulated market in Arkansas.
The ballot measure allows for retail sportsbooks to open in the state’s four casinos with the industry regulated by the Arkansas Racing Commission. The state’s first legal sports wagers were placed on July 1st 2019.
However, the voter referendum only allowed for retail sports betting meaning that there are currently no mobile sports betting options within the state. This may change in the near future as bill HB 4912 that will permit online sports betting has been introduced at the state legislature.
Who regulates the Arkansas sports betting industry?
The Arkansas sports betting industry is regulated by the Arkansas Racing Commission. The Commission is responsible for industry oversight, the setting out of rules and regulations, and the issuance of sports betting licenses to retail operators.
Which legal sportsbooks are available in Arkansas?
While Arkansas sports betting legislation allows all four casinos to open retails sportsbooks, only three have launched to date.
Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort
Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort launched the state’s first retail sportsbook and started taking bets on July 1st 2019. The sportsbook is located in the casino and features betting tellers and 24-hour betting kiosks. This is a self-branded sportsbook that runs on IGT technology.
Saracen Casino Resort
The newly expanded casino at Pine Bluff features an annex building with a sports betting lounge. The first bets were taken in September 2019 and since then the sportsbook has proven to be a popular venue among local gamblers. The sportsbook features a betting teller and 24-hour betting kiosk.
The Southland Casino sportsbook is run in partnership with Betly and features betting tellers, 24-hour betting kiosks, and a full bar and dining options.
A fourth casino is set for construction in Pope County but is currently the subject of a planning objection made by locals. Should the casino open, this will be the location for the state’s fourth retail sportsbook.
Sports betting apps in Arkansas
There are no mobile sports betting options available in Arkansas, there have been efforts to push through legislation to allow online operators to launch in the state.
The latest attempt is through HB 4912. This bill that will allow mobile sports betting was introduced by Rep. Lee Johnson and after a first reading was referred to the House Rules Committee.
Daily Fantasy Sports in Arkansas
Arkansas was the first state to enact legislation that allowed legal Daily Fantasy Sports. HB2250 was signed into law in 2017 and set out a tax rate of 8% for all DFS operators in the state.
Following the passing of the legislation four operators entered the market. These are:
- Monkey Knife Fight
- Fantasy Draft
DFS players in Arkansas must be 18 years or older.
What about online poker in Arkansas?
Although the state has made some progress with the legalization of both sports betting and Daily Fantasy Sports, Arizona’s lawmakers have yet to make any move with regards to online poker.
In 2018, table games were officially legalized at the state’s casinos allowing for live poker games to finally take place in a state that has a reputation for a quite conservative approach to gambling. However, this is as far as lawmakers are prepared to go for now and it could be another few years at the very least before we see any legislation that specifically deals with online poker.
Image credit: Great Degree / CC BY-SA 2.0
Arkansas sports betting frequently asked questions
How old do you have to be to place bets at an Arkansas sportsbook?
Gamblers must be 21 years of age or older to place a bet at one of the state's retail sportsbooks.
What sports can I bet on in Arkansas?
You can bet on all major sports and college sports in Arkansas sportsbooks.
Is online sports betting available in Arkansas?
No, there are no online sports betting options available in Arkansas.