Arkansas Sports Betting 2019

Betting on sports is legal in Arkansas after voters in the state approved a constitutional amendment which expands its gaming options. Since all legal bets must be placed in-person at licensed locations, Arkansas is likely to revisit this barrier to betting.

Arkansas Sportsbook Locations

In 2018, voters in Arkansas amended the state’s constitution to allow four casino licenses, all of which will be able to take sports bets.

The former racetrack now known as Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs took the first sports bet in Arkansas in July 2019. Southland Park in West Memphis, which has live greyhound racing, has been granted a license but has not opened its sportsbook. Under authorization from the amendment, the two locations immediately granted licenses were converted into full-scale casinos, including structural updates and expanded gaming options.

The third facility, a casino in Jefferson County, is under construction and hopes to open its doors in its permanent home sometime in 2020. The fourth and final casino, in Pope County, is still caught in a legal battle between local officials and casino stakeholders and may not begin taking bets for several more years – if at all.

Mobile betting apps and online betting sites were not included in the Arkansas Casino Gaming Amendment. It’s not likely there will be mobile betting platforms anytime soon. Sports wagering in Arkansas is limited to just these four gaming facilities.

According to the state’s constitution, any eligible bettor 21 or older can participate in gaming, including sports betting.

Is Sports Betting Legal In Arkansas?

Yes. Arkansas was the first state to approve sports betting with a public referendum when Issue 4 was passed by voters in November 2018. Colorado became the second state to do so when voters approved Proposition DD in November.

Voters in Arkansas supported legal sports betting at the Oaklawn Racing Casino, the state’s top horse racing track, as well as Southland Park, a greyhound track, and two other proposed casinos. Oaklawn is home to the Arkansas Derby, one of the top Kentucky Derby prep races for 3-year-olds that’s held each year in early April.

The Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), run by the Quapaw Nation, has been approved by the racing commission and opened an annex in 2019.The full casino is scheduled to open as early as 2020.

Arkansas Sportsbooks And Their Partners

LocationLicensePartner
Southland CasinoIssuedNone
Oaklawn Racing CasinoIssuedSBTech
Saracen Resort CasinoAwaitingNone
”Pope County Casino”AwaitingNone

Gambling in Arkansas Timeline

2019

Oaklawn Racing Casino in Hot Springs takes the first sports bet in Arkansas in July.

2018

Voters in Arkansas approve a ballot amendment expanding the state’s gaming options, and legalizing sports betting. The amendment immediately grants sports betting licenses to two existing locations as well as approves casino expansions to each of the facilities. Two more casinos are also permitted, in Jefferson and Pope Counties, respectively.

2017

Arkansas makes an array of changes to its state code, allowing for bingos and raffles in which proceeds will go to charitable causes.

2009

The Arkansas Lottery finally launches, with proceeds going towards the funding of education in the state. Arkansas also enters a multi-state lottery pool to help boost the size of their prizes and joins the Multi-State Lottery Association.

2008

Arkansas voters approved the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Act, which establishes the Arkansas Lottery Commission.

2005

The Arkansas legislature approves of several "Games of Skill" that make it so many video gaming terminals can be offered at pari-mutuel horse and greyhound betting facilities.

1967

Authorities in Arkansas shut down illegal gambling operations run by criminal organizations in the city of Hot Springs after decades skirting federal authority.

1957

Arkansas passes a law that officially legalizes pari-mutuel betting in the state legal and also establishes betting on greyhound races in the state.

1929

The state passes a law making it legal to bet on horse races in Arkansas, legalizing a long-established pass-time in the state.

1916

The racetrack at Oaklawn opens its doors for business. A bill to legalize betting on horse racing passes the Arkansas Legislature but faces a veto from the governor,which is shortly overturned by legislators before the state’s Supreme Court backs upthe governor’s veto.

1874

The Arkansas Constitution includes only one mention of any type of gaming and it’s a ban on lotteries, implying that other forms of gaming are permitted in the state.