Arkansas Legalized Sports Betting with a Referendum
Sports betting is legal in Arkansas. Online sports betting, however, is not. If you wish to place a bet on a sporting event in AR, you must head to one of the retail locations throughout the state. Rather than legalizing sports betting and casino play by passing a bill, lawmakers in the Natural State chose to instead pass the question of legalization to voters. In November 2018, voters chose to legalize casinos and therefore sports betting became a legal form of gambling in Arkansas too.
Wayne Smith, the general manager of Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort placed the first bet at a retail location when it opened in July 2019. When it comes to the future of this type of betting in Arkansas, being able to do it online would make it more accessible and easier for bettors around the state to enjoy. The industry is booming, and in January of 2020, it earned $2.58 million.
However, there is currently only one location open; the Oaklawn Sportsbooks. The Saracen Casino Annex is due to open in summer 2020. Other pre-selected locations still have some work to finish before they open for business.
If Arkansas introduces online sports betting, you will be able to find out more about it on this page.
Voters Chose to Legalize Casinos in Arkansas
Voters legalized casinos in Arkansas in the same ballot that allowed sports betting to flourish. Before, residents of the Natural State had to cross state borders to head to somewhere like Mississippi where gambling had been legal for a long time. The other concern here has been that those interested in gambling in AR would turn to offshore and unregulated online casinos.
Setting up a real money online casino in Arkansas will be difficult without the state allowing online sports betting to help it succeed. AR is a traditionally conservative state and there have even been many in-state opponents who oppose the opening of brick-and-mortar locations.
The gambling age in Arkansas is also 21, compared to 18 in many other states. For example, the gambling age in Missouri to the north is 18 and there are riverboat casinos throughout the state. Limiting those crossing state borders for gambling will be an area that lawmakers will need to address at some point.
For now, online casino gambling in Arkansas is quite far away. You will be able to find out more about any changes or proposed bills on this page when lawmakers announce them.
Where to Play Poker in Arkansas
So, if there are no legal online casinos in Arkansas, what does this mean for the game of poker? This card game is incredibly popular in the Natural State, and you can enjoy it at the Oaklawn Casino or the Southland Casino. Like online casinos, some overseas sites claim to offer play to US residents, however, you should avoid these sites as the state’s government does not regulate them.
Currently, there are no plans to regulate online poker in Arkansas. If such a bill appears, it will most likely be part of a wider casino gambling bill. Keep an eye on this page to stay up to date with any future bills that lawmakers introduce.
The Top Daily Fantasy Sports Sites in Arkansas
Arkansas has regulated daily fantasy sports since 2017. Sign up to one of our favorite sites for the best DFS in the Natural State here:
Players Can Enjoy Daily Fantasy Sports in Arkansas
Daily fantasy sports became legal in Arkansas thanks to Act 1075 of 2017. This bill began life as HB 2250 and Governor Asa Hutchinson signed it into law on April 10, 2017. It regulated daily fantasy sports operators in the state. AR became one of the first states to legalize daily fantasy sports in 2017.
You can find many of the top daily fantasy sports operators offering their products in this state. DraftKings and FanDuel are two of the biggest names in the US market and both are in operation in the Natural State.
Arkansas Also Introduced its Lottery Thanks to a Referendum
A referendum on November 4, 2008 approved and helped introduce the Arkansas Lottery, with tickets going on sale in mid-2009. Many believe that it is the first lottery in the US to use computerized drawings powered by a random number generator instead of traditional drawing methods.
Players must be 18+ in order to take part. You can buy tickets for small daily and weekly draws, or for the Daily Natural State Jackpot which awards an average of $150,000. Arkansas also takes part in the multi-jurisdictional games Lucky for life, Powerball, and Mega Millions.
Players can purchase tickets from any official retailer around the state and they can check the winning numbers on the official website. You can also join the free Arkansas Lottery Club for the chance to grab second chance draws.
Other Important Gambling Facts About Arkansas
All fantasy sports operators in Arkansas need to pay an 8% tax on all revenue generated within the state. This tax goes to the State Department of Finance and Administration. The state taxes casinos that operate sports betting facilities at a rate of 13% on the first $150 million of net gaming receipts and 20% on values above this. AR then distributes the taxes by giving 55% to the state’s General Revenue Fund, 5% to the casino’s city and another 8% to the county, and 5% to the Arkansas Racing Commission for horses and greyhounds.
Revenue from the lottery goes to college scholarships. Since its inception, it has raised more than $930 million for these scholarships, helping more than 542,000 students throughout the state.
What Does the Future Hold for Gambling in Arkansas?
While it may seem like the legalization of gambling in Arkansas has stalled, there is small progress being made. The success of retail sports betting might start conversations about online sports betting and other types of gambling. We might be closer to legalization of full and well-regulated gambling in the Natural State than we think.