Arkansas-Gambling-Laws

Until recently, despite its rich heritage as a late-19th century and mid-20th century legal gambling haven, Arkansas spent the better part of 4 decades as a strict anti-gambling state.

However, a successful November 2018 state ballot decided to allow land-based sports wagering and casino gambling in Arkansas. As has been the experience in many other states, it may well come to pass that by beginning sports betting at the land-based casinos, the flow on effects could lead to an extension to the program to also make online sports betting a reality in the Natural State. However, it seems in Arkansas online sports wagering may take a little more time than originally thought.

That said, the good news is that things are changing rapidly across the United States, and many states where online sports betting was once considered impossible and now giving it consideration.

Legality of Sports Betting VS Gambling

Residents of Arkansas can bet on sports at both racetracks and eventually up to four different locations from the current two (Southland, Oaklawn, Jefferson and Pope counties). However, the sports betting options are only land-based at this stage, not online.

DFS, Horse Racing provide the online betting options and a lottery, charitable gaming, limited casino action and live horse racing betting options are all available for land-based play.

Please see below for the current legal environments for sports betting laws in Arkansas, gambling online in Arkansas etc.

Gambling Type
Legal Land-Based
Legal Online
Sports Betting
Yes
No
Casinos
Yes
No
Fantasy Sports (DFS)
N/A
No
eSports
No
No
Poker
No
No
Horse Racing
Yes
Yes
Lottery
No
No
Charitable Gambling
Yes
No

Arkansas Gambling Tax Rate

In Arkansas, there is a 7% state tax on gambling winnings.

Large wins over $600 may also incur Federal taxes.

Sports betting Age VS Gambling Age in Arkansas

With the exception of Casino Betting and Sports Betting at 21 years-of-age, the minimum age for all other betting types in Arkansas is 18.

Gambling Type
Age
Sports Betting
N/A
DFS
18
Casinos
21
Horse Racing
18
Lottery
18
Charitable Gambling
18

Betting on Sports in Arkansas

Arkansas legalized land-based sports betting only in November 2018 through a state-wide referendum conducted concurrently with Congressional midterm elections. Voters agreed to approving an amendment to bring sports betting to four locations in Arkansas. Those locations include:

  • Southland Racing & Gaming in West Memphis
  • Oaklawn Racing & Gaming in Hot Springs
  • Another casino in Pope county yet to be constructed
  • One casino earmarked for construction in Jefferson County.

The state’s two racetracks also received a sports betting license with the passage of the amendment, while another two casino locations can potentially receive a sports betting license upon approval of their successful casino application.

Most of the usual land-based sports wagering laws apply in Arkansas including;

  • Must be 21 years-of-age or over to participate.
  • Arkansas casino revenue is taxed at 13% on the first $150 million and 20% thereafter.
  • Sportsbook license fees set a maximum of $250K.

Interestingly, written into the Arkansas sports betting legislation is the specific direction of the flow of money for the state’s residents;

  • 55% to the Arkansas state general revenue fund
  • 5% to the municipality in which the casino is located, unless the casino is located in a county not a city council, whereby 19.5% goes to the county where the casino is located.
  • 5% goes to the Arkansas Racing Commission for horse and greyhound racing purses and;
  • 8% goes to the county where the casino is located.

Arkansas Online Sports Betting Laws

The state of Arkansas does not regulate for online sports betting and that does not seem very likely for the time being. Given the wording of the state’s successful sports betting motion 7-9-107 in November 2018, it clearly referred to land-based sports betting only.

Additional legislation will be required to pass in order for Arkansas to adopt legal online sports wagering, and potential go back to the people in a referendum.

Online Fantasy Sports in Arkansas

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) have been decided upon by U.S. Federal legislators to be fully exempt from any Federal gambling bans. At the Federal level at least, DFS is determined to be contest of skill, rather than a gambling game of random chance.

Many states are beginning to adopt the Federal recommendations into their own state law structures. In April 2017Arkansas became just 11th state to legalize DFS when State Governor Asa Hutchinson signed bill H 2250 into law. The legislation was passed by both chambers of the state legislature by overwhelming majorities.

Subsequently, major DFS sites all accept players resident in and visitors to, the state of Arkansas for their real money contests.

eSports Online Betting Laws

As with all other forms of sports betting, eSports betting has been included in the package of gambling options now available in Arkansas. eSports betting is expected to be a big hit with the state’s sports bettors as soon as the state’s legislators include it in the package of available sports betting options. But what is exactly?

eSports’ – the abbreviation for electronic sports – is the umbrella term for organized, competitive gaming which has exploded in popularity over the past decade.

eSports has efficiently and effectively transformed video game play at its highest-levels into a full-time professional sport in which the best players sign multi-million-dollar contracts to compete for team glory. Rather than competing for individual honors, eSports are mostly played by teams and in league and tournament formats.

The electronic games themselves are equivalent to different sports types. For example, in eSports, the games League of Legends, Fortnite and Starcraft are equivalent to, say, NFL, NHL and MLB. eSports is the overarching concept, while the different electronic game types are loosely equivalent to different types of sports.

Betting on eSports is growing enormously in popularity and the dollar figures wagered on eSports is undergoing unfathomable and exponential growth year-on-year. International sportsbooks worldwide offer a range of betting markets across all major eSports tournaments and formats.

Most spectators watch from home but eSports competitions attract tens-of-thousands of people to stadiums across the world, and eSports competitions have been transformed into global betting events with the advent of live streaming technology.

Horse Racing in Arkansas

Horse Racing Betting is completely legal (both online and on course/track side) for residents of the state of Arkansas and its visitors.

Bets on horse racing can be made on live races, at off-track betting facilities and online, and as a result, all of popular horse and dog racing betting websites that operate across the United States have a presence in the state of Arkansas.

Trackside Betting

There are two live racing venues in Arkansas and one of those, Oaklawn Track in Little Rock is considered to be one of the nation’s premier horse racing tracks and hosts the Arkansas Derby, an important lead-up even for runners in the Kentucky Derby. The track is open for live betting, Wednesday through Saturday and the live racing calendar usually from January until April each year.

Off Track Betting (OTB) in Arkansas

Off track betting bureaus (OTBs) are not widespread in Arkansas. Full betting on Horse and Greyhound Racing, and simulcast racing are offered at only 2 locations (the state’s two racinos) in the state. Betting on races in Arkansas, most major racing locations worldwide and of course, across the United States and are all available.

Online Horse Racing in Arkansas

As one of the only two forms of legal online betting in the state, it’s hardly surprising then that all major U.S. online horse racing betting sites all accept customers from the state of Arkansas and offer real money bets on horse racing (Triple Crown, Arkansas Derby, Kentucky Derby etc.) for residents of Arkansas and the state’s visitors.

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