Arkansas Online Gambling & Casinos. In 2018, Arkansas voters approved allowing casinos and sports betting in the state. The move followed the legalization of gambling on horse racing, which had been limited to a single racetrack since the 1960s. However, online gambling remains illegal in Arkansas.
Thanks to a recent legislative overhaul, online gambling in Arkansas is a possibility. For now, however, it’s best to stay away from offshore casino sites. These are not safe alternatives to legal online casinos—and for good reason. They’re unregulated, which leaves players vulnerable to a number of problems including poor customer service and delayed payments.
Our experts stay on top of the latest Arkansas gambling laws so bookmark this page for updates as Arkansas continues to evolve in the gambling space.
Is Online Gambling Legal in Arkansas?
No. Real-money online casinos and online sports betting are still banned in Arkansas. The state does offer legal social casinos such as WinStar, LuckyLand and Chumba. Social casinos are free for players to use, with a few exceptions.
Registrants automatically receive a set number of tokens and “sweeps coins” to play table games and online slot machines very similar to the land-based versions. They can even win prizes or real cash by playing some games using sweeps coins, which are not considered gambling but an alternative to it because they are free to acquire.
Consider social casinos the superior, legal online option for now and perhaps Arkansas law will change again in the future to expand legal real-money online casino offerings.
Will Arkansas Legalize Online Casinos?
There doesn’t appear to be any current legislation moving in that direction, but Arkansas only adopted legal sports betting and approved two commercial casinos as part of a 2018 vote to expand gambling laws.
The state may be open to online gambling down the road, especially considering all the revenue left on the table by going strictly retail-only for sports betting.
What Arkansas Casinos Will Offer Online Gambling?
Two new commercial casinos expected to open in the future—Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff and River Valley Casino in Pope County—would also expect to receive online licenses. Both will be permitted to operate retail sportsbooks when they open.
That’s all speculation, of course, with legal online gambling not yet available in Arkansas. Stick with social casinos like Chumba for now, and check back for any updates on legal online gambling in Arkansas.
Arkansas Land-Based Casinos
Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort
Oaklawn opened in 1905 as a horse racing track and in 2005 was permitted to add electronic games and slot machines. In 2018, gambling revisions allowed for table games as well and now the property has 1,530 gaming machines including video poker and live dealer tables games like blackjack, craps and three-card poker. Oaklawn also has one of the state’s two sportsbooks.
Southland Casino Racing
Southland Greyhound Park has long served as a greyhound racing track, offering simulcast horse and greyhound betting as well. The casino now includes more than 2,000 slot machines and electronic games and table games like craps, Mississippi Stud and blackjack. Southland also announced in 2019 a planned $250 million expansion that will include a 20-story hotel.
What Bonuses To Expect From Arkansas Online Casinos?
If and when Arkansas legalizes online gambling, residents will be able to take advantage of new sign-up offers at most casinos. Casinos now offer a variety of bonuses and incentives for first-time players, and you should definitely check out the promotions before choosing an online casino. Remember to always check the terms and conditions.
Free Spins are common and highly beneficial for online slot machine players. Basically, the casino deposits a certain number of free spin credits in your account upon sign-up. You can use these free spins to play online slot machines and win money without using any of your own deposit funds.
Players wanting to deposit $500 or more should consider casinos that offer matched bonuses. A matched bonus just means that the casino will double your initial deposit up to a certain amount, typically between $500-$1,000. The bonus funds are as good as money and can be used to play any table game or slot machine.
Players might have to wait until they wager a certain amount of their own money before they access said funds, and not all games count 100% toward satisfying the wagering requirements.
Some online sites will offer a no-deposit bonus for new players, which is typically a small amount (around $25) with minimal playthrough requirements.
It’s also common practice for online casinos to offer refer-a-friend bonuses, which can extend beyond the sign-up phase. Once a new player creates an account and wagers a certain amount, the referral bonus funds will be deposited in the first player’s account.
These are just a few examples of many different types of promotions and bonuses for new users. Arkansas gamblers should definitely see what’s out there and take advantage if the state ever implements legal online casino sites.
History of Gambling in Arkansas
Arkansas first banned all gambling in the late 19th century. The state allowed horse racing at its sole track, Oaklawn Park, which now operates as a racino. In 2005, Arkansas loosened its gambling laws to allow Oaklawn Park and Southland to operate as racinos with an offering of slot machines and electronic games.
The state also legalized charitable bingo in 2007, while approving its state lottery in 2009. The lottery has proved highly successful and generated $532 million in revenue for scholarship funds in 2019.
Arkansas passed a constitutional amendment in 2018 to legalize sports gambling and other forms of casino gambling like table games at four locations – the two existing racinos and two planned commercial casinos. The state took its first sports bet in 2019, while construction began on one of the state’s two forthcoming commercial casinos.
Arkansas Sports Betting
After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018, giving individual states the power to legalize sports gambling, Arkansas become the first state to take its first legal sports bet in 2019 at two existing racinos.
The state will have additional retail sportsbooks at two forthcoming commercial casinos but hasn’t explored legal online gambling at this time. Arkansans can currently play at existing retail sportsbooks and hope that lawmakers consider online gambling in the future.