Arkansas Casinos

Written by: Cliff Spiller, Online Casino and Game Expert
Arkansas Casinos & Gambling
  • Horse racing (1929), Greyhound Racing (1957), Racinos (2005), Lottery (2009)
  • About $90 million per year
  • $427 million including lottery, racing and casino games
  • 18 for lottery and racing, 21 for casinos
  • Arkansas’ smoking ban does not apply to gaming establishments
  • Pari-mutuel racing is legal over the Internet in Arkansas

Arkansas gambling has a long history in this state. Most of it revolved around Hot Springs. Arkansas casinos sprang up in the city during the Great Depression. Nearly a dozen gaming establishments operated in Hot Springs at one time. It rivaled Las Vegas in terms of casino gaming in the 1930s.

The post-war era was not kind to Arkansas’ gambling industry, which operated in a gray area. A conservative movement put an end to the casino industry that operated somewhere near an underground level in its final days.

Arkansas casino gambling was revived in the 2000s. A state lottery was also created during this era. Greyhound racing was established in 1957, although horse racing in Arkansas dates back to 1929. The legality of pari-mutuel betting varied in the years between. The two tracks that operate dog tracks are home to the only two casinos in Arkansas. As of today, online casino gambling is not legal in the state of Arkansas.

November 2018 Update

During this year’s midterm elections, voters approved casino legalization in four counties – Garland, Crittenden, Jefferson, and Pope. Over 54% of voters approved the measure. This will see the Oaklawn horse track located in Hot Springs and the Southland dog track in the West Memphis area allowed to offer casino gaming.

The state will now be able to offer casino games, keeping revenues from leaving Arkansas as players visit neighboring areas to gamble.

Types of Arkansas Online Gambling Allowed

Horseracing iconThe only form of online gambling specifically legal in Arkansas is pari-mutuel betting. Internet bets are permitted on greyhound and horse races at sites like TVG and TwinSpires. Daily fantasy sports sites assert that their business is legal in Arkansas. Some legal experts refute this opinion. Arkansas has not issued an opinion on the daily fantasy sports industry so companies that include DraftKings, FanDuel, CBS Sports, and Yahoo continue to accept action from the state.

Types of Arkansas Live Gambling

Popular games iconPopular Games
  • Slots: Yes
  • Blackjack: Yes
  • Poker: Yes
  • Craps/Roulette: Yes
  • Horses: Yes
  • Lottery: Yes

Greyhound racing is the oldest form of legalized gambling in Arkansas. The state’s two tracks were permitted to offer slots, video poker, and table games that require skill in 2005. Games of chance were legalized in 2012. This includes craps, roulette, and real money keno. Video versions of these games were already available on the racino floors of Oaklawn and Southland.

Poker rooms at the state’s two racinos offer electronic tables distributed by PokerTek. These are known as PokerPro machines. This means there is no dealer. The cards are dealt by a machine. This gives players more hands per hour and saves on tips. There are two casinos in Arkansas, Oaklawn and Southland offer simulcast betting on horses and greyhounds. They also offer regular casino games like blackjack, roulette, and many different slot machines.

The Arkansas Lottery was created in 2008. Interstate lotto tickets are sold, as well as standard scratch-offs that are similar to pull-tabs.

Arkansas gambling lawsThere are four forms of legalized gambling in Arkansas. Greyhound racing originated in 1957. Pari-mutuel wagering has been legal since that year. The racetracks were granted permission to add casino games in 2005. This was approved because Arkansas tracks lost business to casinos in Tunica County, Mississippi. Memphis is an equal distance from the Arkansas casinos and Tunica.

Slots, video poker, video table games, electronic poker tables and table games that require skill were the first games added to the state’s list of legalized gambling. Craps and roulette were added as approved games in 2012.

Voters approved a state lottery in 2008. The first tickets were sold the following year. Scratch-off and lotto sales are permitted.

Charities may offer small-scale gambling to fund operations. This includes raffles and bingo.

The minimum gambling age in Arkansas for playing the lottery and greyhounds is 18 years. The Arkansas casinos and tracks at Oaklawn Park and Southland Park require players to be at least 21 years old.

List of Arkansas Casinos

Despite these Arkansas casinos being racinos, they still offer most of the games you would find at regular casinos. These games include blackjack, roulette, craps, slots, and even live poker. Below you can find the casino locations and websites, but if you want a more detailed route, you can use our Arkansas casinos map as a guide.

Oaklawn Racing & Gaming1,000 Slot Machines2705 Central
Southland Park Gaming & Racing630 Slot Machines1550 Ingram

Arkansas Gambling History

Arkansas casinos Oaklawn Race TrackArkansas was originally a state that looked the other way when it came to gambling. Arkansas casinos appeared in Hot Springs during the Prohibition era. Full-scale gaming operations that resembled establishments in Nevada were commonplace. The Baby Boom years put an end to this type of gambling in Arkansas. The last Arkansas casino in Hot Springs closed its doors in 1967.

The only form of legal Arkansas gambling after Hot Springs was shut down was greyhound racing until racinos were approved in 2005. Slots, video poker, and table games that require skill were first approved. This was expanded to games of luck in 2012. A state lottery was created through a statewide constitutional referendum in 2008.

Arkansas Casinos & Gambling FAQ

Is online gambling legal in Arkansas?

Off-track betting on greyhounds and horses is the only form of legal online betting.

Are daily fantasy sports contests legal in Arkansas?

Daily fantasy sports sites claim to fall under Arkansas’ skill gaming exemption. This point is debated among legal experts.

Is greyhound racing legal in Arkansas?

Arkansas is one of just 11 states where live greyhound racing is still legal. Two of the last 21 greyhound tracks in the country are located in Arkansas.

Is poker legal in Arkansas?

Yes, but the rooms at Oaklawn Park and Southland Park use electronic tables.

Does Arkansas have a lottery?

Yes. Voters approved it in 2008. The first tickets were sold in September 2009.

Are casinos legal in Arkansas?

Full-scale casinos operate in Arkansas.

What casinos are in Arkansas?

Oaklawn Park and Southland Park are the state’s two casinos.

What games are legal at Arkansas casinos?

Poker, slots, video poker, craps, roulette, blackjack, keno, Three Card Poker, Four Card Poker, baccarat and Ultimate Texas Hold’em are among the legal games in Arkansas.

What is the minimum gambling age in Arkansas?

The minimum gambling age for Arkansas casinos is 21 years, and for lottery and racing is 18 years.

Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller Online Casino and Game Expert

Cliff Spiller is a global casino industry specialist who writes relatable content for beginners and experts. He's written gambling articles and online casino reviews at OUSC for over 15 years.

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