- Little Rock
- 53,179 sq mi
Find out all you need to know about casinos in the state of Arkansas
Currently, residents of Arkansas, when it comes to gambling legally only really have the option to indulge in horse racing or greyhound dog racing. At this present moment in time, legal gambling may only be enjoyed in either the areas of Hot Springs or the Oaklawn Jockey Club, which is for the most part just dog and horse racing and betting. At one point, not so many years back, there were a number of laws which restricted people from gambling in Arkansas, but the authorization of gambling in these areas shows that the tables are gradually turning.
However, we all know that betting on the horses or the greyhounds isn’t enough for some people, and there are those time when you really just want to take to the tables or spin on those slots. Well, the great thing about residing in Arkansas is its close proximity to Oklahoma — home to many of the best casinos in the United States, if not the whole world. Residents (or visitors) of Arkansas can take a journey of only a couple of hours in the car and reach any of the many casino options out there, such as Quapaw Casino, Grand Lake Casino or the Goldsby Gaming Center in order to get their gambling fill. What’s more, Oklahoma is a really beautiful state, and visiting any of these great casinos will mean you get to drive through the sensational scenery and take in a whole new view as well.
It’s also rather exciting to know that there is talk of many more legalized casinos making their way into Arkansas in the near future.
Arkansas Gambling Laws
Gambling laws in Arkansas have a very interesting history. Starting from the early 1900s, when it considered as a gambling hub, probably even bigger than Las Vegas, it carried on until 1947, when the grand jury accused a few biggest casino owners. Ffinally, any forms of gambling were banned in this state in 1967. From then, there have been a lot of changes in the political mood, and recently, several forms of gambling have become legal again, but with strict regulation.
Casinos are prohibited from operating in the state. However, in 2005, a few “electronic games of skill” were allowed at the tracks in Hot Springs and West Memphis. Since then, Blackjack, Video Poker and electronic Poker can be played at two racinos – Oaklawn Park Race Track and Southland Park Gaming and Racing. Age restrictions for players is above 21 years old.
Horse and Dog Races
Betting on horse and dog races are legal in Arkansas, but only through pari-mutuel wagering and only on the tracks. Franchised greyhound racing are also considered as legal but only via pari-mutuel wagering. Oaklawn Park and Southland Park (that has one of the largest greyhound racing facilities in the world) are the only legal places to bet.
Since 2008, Arkansas runs a scholarship lottery, with 8 games available. Arkansas citizens can also participate in multi-state games like Power Ball or Mega Millions and must be 18 years or older to play. Note that in this state lottery tickets can only be purchased from the licensed lottery retailers.
Bingo and raffles are regulated under the Charitable Bingo and Raffles Enabling Act and can be operated only by nonprofitable organizations. That is why there are a lot of regulations they have to follow to hold their license. No less than 50% shall be returned to the public as prizes.
Live poker games are allowed in this state, although they are limited to the Southlands Race Track, which has six poker tables, covering cash games and tournaments. Poker games played at home are not allowed, and when caught, the maximum fine would be $25. Online poker is illegal too.
Although not explicitly banned under the specific statutes, it is still considered illegal under Arkansas’ state law, and seems to remain the same in the nearest future.