Gambling in Arkansas
When examining the Gambling Laws in Arkansas, you wonder how different things may have been for Arkansas. The Post-Civil-War betting-complexes-and-casinos in Hot Springs provided the infrastructure to set up a gambling industry that could potentially rival Nevada and Las Vegas as a national gambling center. However, gambling in Hot Springs was closed in 1967. Forty years would pass before any gambling options became available in Arkansas again.
Now, with the state’s residents voting for change in November 2018 and wanting legal sports betting sooner rather than later, the state is entering another transitional phase in its lengthy gambling history.
Once the details are ironed out and land-based sports betting is introduced to the state’s casinos and racetracks, we expected that online sports betting will follow shortly thereafter.
Arkansas Casino Gambling
Despite Arkansas casinos being officially ‘racinos’ (former or current racetracks where casino games and services are offered), they offer most of the games you would find at regular casinos. These games include blackjack, roulette, craps, slots, and even live poker.
However, full-scale casinos will be coming soon to Arkansas following the successful referendum in November 2018.
Until now, the definition of ‘casino’ has broadly been accepted to mean live gambling action, other than travelling to the huge Casino resorts of Mississippi, the closest that players will come to Vegas-style gaming action in Arkansas is at the state’s two ‘racinos.’ Apart from casino table games, you’ll find more than 2600 slots and gaming machines with minimum bets set at $0.01 up to a rather lean maximum bet of $25.
Expect all of that to change soon, once the Arkansas State Legislature has set in place the details for the laws under which legal casinos in Arkansas will operate.
Online Casinos in Arkansas
While there are no specific online casino laws relating specifically to the legal status of casinos online in Arkansas, online casinos are considered illegal under current general guidelines in the state.
At this early stage in Arkansas following the November 2018 referendum legalizing sports betting, it is unsure how the change in the law to allow land-based sports betting might affect the possibility for online sportsbooks in the state.
Arizona’s Legal Online Casinos
Without any online casino laws in Arkansas, or a lack of any laws affirming online gambling in the positive, we advise all potential online casino players in Alaska to obey the implicit interpretation of the state’s gambling law that online casinos are considered to be illegal.
Online casinos (US-based or Offshore) should not be used in Arkansas until full legalization is passed by the State’s lawmakers.
With the exceptions of legal DFS games and horse & greyhound racing, online gambling options are still illegal in Arkansas until further notice.
Poker in Arkansas
Home poker games are not allowed in Arkansas as social gaming is considered to be against the state’s gambling laws. Running afoul of the state’s home poker laws though, will only cost you a maximum of fine of only $25.
Once the new casinos open, poker is expected to be fully available.
Watch this space for details as they come to hand.
See below section on ‘Poker Rooms in Arkansas for how matters currently stand with Poker in Arkansas.
At one of Arkansas’ two ‘racinos’, there are 6 legal tables for Live Poker at which cash prizes are available and a number of professional tournaments are held from time-to-time. Other than that, Poker rooms cannot be found in the state of Arkansas.
Online Poker Laws
Online poker in Arkansas and video poker online are both implicitly deemed illegal in the state. There is no regulation or moves towards legalizing online poker in Arkansas at the moment. For full details, please refer to the above section on ‘Online Casinos in Arkansas’.
Benefits of Gambling to Arkansas
- Gambling is an excellent and viable source of additional state income and provides the state of Arkansas revenue streams to pay for positive education outcomes, improvements in the state’s health system, and better security law and order services for the state’s residents.
- Much needed job creation in the Arkansas economy. Arkansas has defied nationwide drops in the unemployment rate to increase from 3.6% (April 2017) to 3.8% (February 2018).
- Gambling provides cheaper tuition fees at state universities and colleges.
- Keeps Arkansas money in the state and not in the mega-casinos of neighboring Mississippi.
- Now passed, the November 2018 State ballot opening up the Arkansas commercial and tribal casino industry should have a positive impact on the creation of jobs and increase economic prosperity to Native American people living on Tribal lands.
<h2>History of Online & Land-Based Gambling in Arkansas</h2>
1880 – Racetracks first open for business in Arkansas.
1880’s – 1967 The height of the gambling scene in Arkansas’ Hot Springs Casinos.
1936 – First running of the Arkansas Derby, the major lead-up race to the Kentucky Derby.
1955 – First Greyhound track opened in Arkansas.
1967 – State Legislature closes down the thriving Hot Springs Casino industry.
2005 – ‘Games-of-Skill’ legislation passed in Arkansas allowing expanded casino machine and table games operation at the state’s racinos.
2007 – Carve outs made in State Law for Charitable Gaming.
2009 – Arkansas’ State Lottery (‘Scholarship Lottery’) begins with funds going to subsidize University education.
November 2018 State ballot allowing for the expansion of gambling in Arkansas (sports betting and commercial casinos) is successful.
Visit our Arkansas Online Sports Betting page for More information on the states Sports Betting Laws