Arkansas has joined the list of states that have legalized sports betting action, with bettors able to wager on their favorite sports at physical locations throughout the state. Those seeking a payout betting on sports can go to one of multiple casino locations in order to place their bets, with more locations set to be added to the list in the future. In this guide to Arkansas sports betting, find out what is legal in the world of Arkansas sports betting and what is still to come.
Bettors can thank an amendment to the state’s constitution for their ability to wager on sports. Instead of a bill being passed into law the way that most states have done it, Arkansas required a constitutional amendment to overwrite previous policies about sports gambling. After the United States Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PASPA, the state issued that amendment and introduced legal sports betting.
Sports betting in Arkansas is overseen by the Arkansas Racing Commission, after the decision to allow for sports betting in the state was voted on in November of 2018.
The situation surrounding legal sports betting in Arkansas is a pretty straightforward one, as wagering can only be done at up to four land-based locations at this time. Given that there are only two Arkansas casino locations that are operational at this time, that means that there are only two locations at which sports betting can be done right now.
In addition to the two racinos that currently offer sports betting in the state, two more casino locations have been approved for sports wagering once they are built and active. Whether or not they will also have horse racing or be greyhound race tracks like the two existing casinos in Arkansas remains to be seen. However, it is safe to say that the land-based sports gambling portfolio of Arkansas is growing, as moving to four casinos will make the state comparable to a five-casino state like West Virginia.
One thing that is not included in the sports betting laws in Arkansas is online or mobile sports betting. As a whole, online gambling is not something that has been embraced by the state, with online poker and online casino gaming not receiving legal protection either. Even games from reputable developers such as IGT are not permitted online. Instead, bettors must take to slot machines, casino games and other games of skill in-person as well.
While online sports betting is not currently legal in Arkansas, playing daily fantasy sports online is something that is permitted. In 2017, daily fantasy sports was made legal by the state government, putting it in a position to be legal in a way that traditional sports betting has not yet become. It will be interesting to see if that is used as a pathway to eventually legalize full-fledged online sports betting in the future throughout the state.
At this point in time, betting in sports in Arkansas is very simple, based on the fact that the only sportsbook options that exist are land-based options. To bet on sports in Arkansas, bettors have to go to one of the two Arkansas casino locations that exist currently. From there, they can go to each respective sportsbook and choose what they want to wager on and for how much.Once confirmed, bettors will receive a physical ticket for the selection or selections they have made. They will need to keep that ticket in their possession, as it is needed to redeem any winnings that a bettor is in line to receive should their wager turn out to be successful.
In addition to simply keeping possession of a ticket, bettors should use as much strategy as possible when betting on sports to ensure success. The first bit of strategy that any bettor should employ is to make sure they are managing their money intelligently. Putting too much of a bettor’s bankroll on one game is never advisable, as doing so could result in a disproportionate amount of a bettor’s budget hinging on one or two plays. Instead, bettors should only use a small percentage of their wagering budget on each wager.
Unfortunately for bettors in Arkansas, they are not able to take to any sports betting sites in addition to the physical locations that have already been approved in the state. At this time, online and mobile betting are currently prohibited both for sports betting and casino gambling. Instead, bettors are required to visit Arkansas casinos if they wish to get their action in on sporting events.
While this may feel like it is unfair to bettors in the state of Arkansas, they should consider themselves lucky that there are any options at all. With states like Maine and Utah resisting the momentum of sports betting legalization around the country, Arkansas is certainly making progress in terms of what it is offering sports bettors.
As of now, there are two sportsbook locations that can be accessed in the state of Arkansas. Those two locations are Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs and Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis. There is only one casino location that exists in this state that does not offer sports betting, with that being the Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff.
As previously mentioned, there are plans to add two more casino locations in the state of Arkansas. Those plans currently call for sportsbooks to be added in Jefferson County and Pope County. Surprisingly, there does not appear to be a sportsbook coming to Little Rock, the state capital, anytime soon. But with Delaware North poised to make a large expansion to the Southland gaming facility, and more casinos coming in the future, the growth of Arkansas casino wagering has been impressive for sports bettors and non-sports bettors alike.
Unfortunately, big names in the industry such as FanDuel and DraftKings are not allowed to offer their sports betting products to people in this state. Online sports betting is arguably at its peak right now, with an all-time high in competition leading to sportsbooks offering more in the way of promotions and betting markets than ever before. For those in Arkansas, they are left with just Betly who recently launch in late April.
Given the stance on online gambling across the board in the state, this does not appear to be on the path to changing anytime soon. However, with the coronavirus pandemic shutting down casinos in 2020, it is possible that states could visit online gambling as a backup plan for bettors in the future.
Betly Sportsbook being the only sportsbook in Arkansas has a retail sportsbook at the Southland Casino in West Memphis, and offers both online and mobile sports betting. They are currently the only state regulated online sportsbook in Arkansas. However, they do not offer the same odds and banking methods that the other online sportsbooks have to offer such as PointsBet and UniBet. There, you are allowed to bet on entertainment odds such as politics and different award shows.
While bettors are only able to bet at physical locations in the state of Arkansas, the betting options that they have at their disposal once they get there are nothing short of impressive. Bettors can wager on all of the top professional sports in the world, headlined by the NFL season, with action available from the league’s opening kickoff to the final whistle of the Super Bowl. With Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones being an Arkansas alum, that team in particular has grown quite the fanbase in Arkansas.
Bettors can take part in wagering on other top professional sports leagues as well, with the NBA, MLB, and NHL all being up for grabs. Bettors can also wager on a variety of racing events. From horse and greyhound races held at each casino, to auto racing such as NASCAR and Formula 1, racing is covered thoroughly in Arkansas. Throw in tennis, soccer and other top international sporting events, and pro sports bettors will greatly enjoy what Arkansas has to offer.
As for college sports, they are a must in Arkansas. Given the passion for college athletics that the local Razorbacks inspire, and the passion for SEC sports that exists in the region, it is no surprise that college basketball and football betting regularly take center stage. College football is the most popular college sport to wager on in Arkansas, with the SEC season pitting the Razorbacks against teams like Alabama, Louisiana State and Mississippi State on a regular basis.
College basketball is widely available as well, with conferences big and small being offered throughout the year. Of course, March Madness is the crown jewel of the college basketball season, with bettors able to wager on which team they think will win the tournament as well as which teams will come out on top of each individual game.
Bettors can wager on a variety of betting markets within each of these sports in Arkansas. Spreads, moneylines and totals tend to be the cornerstones of sports betting in any state. But there are so many additional markets to choose from. Bettors can wager on futures markets, predicting which teams will win championships ahead of time. They can also bet on props involving teams or individual players to spice things up. In terms of what bets are available in Arkansas, the sky is the limit.