Arkansas is not a state most people think of when it comes to gambling. There are actually several legalized forms of it in the state. Some are land-based, while a couple of others are available over the Internet.
There are two forms of legal racing in Arkansas. Horse racing dates back to 1905 at Oaklawn Place. It did not offer betting on horses regularly until 1944. Oaklawn Place has been in continuous operation ever since. Live races are seasonal. Off-track betting is spread year-round.
The Southland Greyhound Park opened in 1955. Like Oaklawn Place, Southland offers off-track betting at its race book.
The only specifically legal betting over the Internet pertains to racing. Pari-mutuel off-track betting is permitted in Arkansas. This includes sites like TVG, BetAmerica and TwinSpires. Online betting, as well as Android and iOS apps, are available as betting platforms.
Voters approved an expansion of gambling at the tracks in 2005. This was done in an attempt to recapture some of the business lost to Tunica in nearby Mississippi, as well as attract gamblers in Tennessee, Kentucky and Texas where casinos are not legal.
Arkansas did not approve full scale casino-style gambling until 2005. There were some restrictions when casinos first launched. Table games required skill, including blackjack, Three Card Poker and Let it Ride. This meant that craps and roulette were not permitted.
Slots also required skill, meaning the player must move or lock a reel at the conclusion of a spin. Video poker is permitted, as was poker.
Gambling was later expanded to games of luck. This allowed the addition of traditional slot machines, keno, roulette and craps. It also opened the doors for the 24-hour operation of casinos at the tracks. An attempt at a larger expansion throughout the state failed in 2012.
Live poker was also approved but never rolled out. Electronic poker tables operate at both Oaklawn Place and Southland.
North Dakota licenses Bet America which accepts legal online wagers for horse racing, dog racing and fantasy sports. This is legal for residents of this state (please read their terms and conditions to ensure this has not changed).
Voters approved a lottery in Arkansas in November 2008. It launched in May 2009. Scratch off tickets and lotto numbers are offered. This includes multi-state drawings. Arkansas Lottery players can enter Powerball and Mega Millions contests.
Arkansas Charitable Gaming
Arkansas permits charities to operate bingo. Charities may also offer raffles and similar drawings.
Arkansas Fantasy Sports
All major daily fantasy sports sites accept Arkansas residents. There is no specific law permitting it. The sites feel that daily fantasy sports fits under the state’s skill gaming laws. This has never been challenged and Arkansas authorities have not announced any investigation into sites like DraftKings and FanDuel. The pair of sites hold a 90 percent market share in the industry.
Arkansas Online Poker and Casinos
Dozens of sites accept bets from Arkansas players. Games offered include poker, casinos and sports betting. None of these sites are licensed to operate in the state. All are located outside the United States.
Online gaming works — it’s been licensed in Europe for years, and in the US it’s already licensed in New Jersey, Nevada, and in Delaware. If you are a resident of the fine state of Arkansas, don’t just sit there — make your voice heard.