In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). Sportsbooks were almost entirely illegal before this decision — now, each state can decide whether it will allow sports betting. Thirty states and Washington, D.C., have presently legalized at least some forms of sports betting, though this figure includes a few states where only on-site sportsbooks are available.
Arkansas has legalized both on-site and online sports betting since the PASPA decision. Below, we’ll review everything else you need to know about using online sportsbooks in this state.
Details about Sports Betting in Arkansas
- In Arkansas, on-site sports betting has been available at the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort (in Hot Springs), the Saracen Casino Resort (Pine Bluff), and Southland Casino Racing (West Memphis) since 2019.
- Arkansas also legalized online sports betting in 2022. Each of the state’s casinos is now allowed to open up to two of their own online sportsbooks.
- As of this writing, Southland’s Betly is the only online sportsbook that operates in the state. The Saracen Casino Resort is working on their own online sportsbook platform, Bet Saracen, but it has not yet been released.
- While there are currently only three casinos in Arkansas, the 2018 ballot initiative that legalized sports betting in the state approved casino/sportsbooks in four locations. After an initial deal with Gulfside Casino Partnership fell through, this final license was awarded to the Oklahoma-based Cherokee Nation Businesses, which is partnering with Legends Hospitality to build a new casino in Pope County near Russellville.
Recent Sports Betting News in Arkansas
- March 5, 2022: Southland Casino Racing launches Betly, their online sportsbook platform.
- Feb. 22, 2022: Online sportsbooks finally become legal in Arkansas as the state’s Joint Budget Committee gives the proposed online sports betting rule its approval. Mobile betting is only allowed through the state’s casinos (each casino can open two of their own online sportsbook platforms, also known as “skins”), and the rule guarantees that casinos will receive 51% of the proceeds when partnering with other online bookmakers.
- Feb. 17, 2022: The Arkansas Legislative Council approves the Arkansas Racing Commission’s proposed rule to allow online sports betting.
- Dec. 30, 2021: The Arkansas Racing Commission votes unanimously to approve online and mobile sports betting.
- Sept. 9, 2020: Sports betting kiosks are opened at Southland Casino Racing.
- Oct. 1, 2019: The Saracen Casino Resort becomes the second location in Arkansas to offer on-site sports betting.
- July 1, 2019: The first legal sports wager in Arkansas is placed at the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort. Wayne Smith, the general manager of the casino, bet $5 that the Dallas Cowboys would beat the New York Giants in the first week of the upcoming NFL season.
- Nov. 6, 2018: Arkansas Issue 4, a ballot measure that was also known as the Casinos Authorized in Crittenden, Garland, Pope, and Jefferson Counties Initiative, passes with 54.1% of the vote. This measure amended the Arkansas Constitution to create four new casino licenses, and it also legalized in-person wagering on sporting events.
Online Sports Betting Apps Available in Arkansas
In part because state regulations guarantee local casinos a 51% share of online sports betting profits, popular nationwide sportsbooks such as FanDuel and DraftKings have chosen not to operate in Arkansas. Indeed, as mentioned above, there is currently only one online sports betting app available in the state:
|Sportsbook||Partner||Tech Supplier||Venue||Launch Date|
|Betly||Delaware North||Gamewise||Southland Casino Racing||March 5, 2022|
Are Daily Fantasy Sports Apps Legal in Arkansas?
In most states, including Arkansas, daily fantasy sports (DFS) are considered games of skill rather than gambling — this is why they were legal even before the PASPA decision in 2018. In these contests, you’ll assemble your own lineup of players that you think will perform the best in a particular set of matches (for example, in an NFL DFS contest, you might be able to pick players from any team scheduled to play on a given Sunday). This format quickly gained popularity in the 2010s and remains quite popular to this day as it offers a more reasonable time commitment and faster payouts than traditional season-long fantasy leagues.
How to Place Responsible Sports Bets in Arkansas
The first rule of sports betting is that you should never wager more money than you can afford to lose. In addition to this general guideline, the following tips will help you place your sports bets responsibly:
- Manage your bankroll: Your bankroll is the amount of money you’ve set aside for gambling for a certain period of time (for example, you may have determined that you can afford to risk $500 over the course of the NFL season). To avoid dipping into funds you can’t afford to lose, you should only risk a small portion of your bankroll on each bet. Specifically, we recommend you only risk 5% or less of your bankroll on any given wager.
- Don’t go on tilt: In gambling, getting so upset by a string of losses that you try to make up for it with a series of reckless wagers is known as going “on tilt.” This kind of behavior will usually lead to blowing through your bankroll quite quickly. Instead, you should accept that losses are inevitable and always keep your calm when placing bets.
- Consider taking a break: If you ever reach the point where sports betting feels more frustrating than fun, it might be time to take a break and cool off for a while. Many sportsbook platforms allow you to set limits on specific features or freeze your account for a certain period of time.
Arkansas Sports Betting FAQs
|Is online sports betting legal?||Yes|
|Is mobile sports betting legal?||Yes|
|Is betting legal at retail locations?||Yes|
|Minimum legal gambling age||21|
Editor’s Note: Information accurate as of April 15, 2022.