Arkansas sports betting is live! In fact, Arkansas just marked the second anniversary of online sports betting in February 2024.
Voters had to approve an amendment to the state constitution just to create sports betting as an option in 2018.
The state accepted the first legal sports bet at a Hot Springs casino in July 2019, but online sports betting wasn’t an option early on.
The state received final state legislative approval for mobile bets on Feb. 22, 2022.
Since then, the three casinos in Arkansas have launched mobile versions of their sportsbooks. Age 21+ Arkansas residents and guests can place a sports bet from anywhere inside state lines.
Arkansas Sports Betting at a Glance
Two of the state’s three casinos have “house” sportsbooks with access to sports betting apps.
- Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff has BetSaracen.
- Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs has Oaklawn Sports and,
- Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis has Betly.
Betly is the only multi-state option among the three sportsbooks. The app is available in OH, TN, and WV in addition to Arkansas.
|Arkansas Sports Betting: Fast Facts
|Legal Betting Age
|Sports Betting Regulator
|Arkansas Racing Commission
|✔️ Available but limited
|College Sports Betting
Is Sports Betting Legal in Arkansas?
Arkansas has had legal retail sports wagering at three retail casinos since the middle of 2019. However, the November 2018 referendum that legalized the construction of four retail casinos did not include provisions for online sports betting. This left an obvious hole in the state’s gambling policy.
A potential fix came in April 2021 when Representative Lee Johnson, a Republican, introduced HB 1942 to the Arkansas House of Representatives. Unfortunately, the House session did not go the way sports betting fans would have liked. Rather than being heard at all, the bill was totally passed over.
Lawmakers worked out the details a year later so users can legally place sports bets online now. Bettors just don’t have access to the nation’s most popular sportsbook apps as of yet.
Best Arkansas Sports Betting Apps
Southland Casino Racing’s Betly mobile app was made available on April 26, 2022. Impressively, Betly pulled in $3.3 million during its first month of operation despite not having a mobile app at the time.
On May 12, 2022, the BetSaracen sports betting app launched, and Arkansas finally had multiple mobile operators for users to choose from.
A third sportsbook, Oaklawn Sports, arrived in August 2022 to round out the current list of operators.
Arkansas laws allow up to eight mobile sportsbooks, but current laws prevent growth in the Natural State.
Major sportsbooks such as DraftKings Sportsbook, the FanDuel sports betting app, or Caesars Sportsbook aren’t likely to partner with Arkansas’s three casinos. Regulations limit third-party sportsbooks to no more than 50 percent of net receipts from statewide online sports betting.
- DraftKings seems a likely contender for legal mobile sports betting in this state. After all, the operator already provides daily fantasy sports to Arkansas residents and operates in nearby Colorado. DraftKings is renowned for having one of the best mobile betting platforms in the industry, with player-friendly betting odds, an excellent opening promo, and live or in-play betting.
- FanDuel is another likely possibility given its proximity to Arkansas (as it is currently operating in Colorado) and the fact that it offers DFS to Arkansas residents just like DraftKings. Like its chief competitor, FanDuel has an intuitive mobile app and excellent betting odds spread across a variety of popular betting markets.
- Caesars Sportsbook launched in a few US states, but then acquired William Hill, who was on a massive expansion across the US during 2021. It is likely we could see Caesars Sportsbook in Arkansas as part of their continued expansion.
- BetMGM is a growing sportsbook that may rival the top two giants mentioned above. Because of this, it may seek to expand its market presence in the middle of the US by launching in Arkansas. It has an excellent opening bonus, live and in-play betting, and a user-friendly mobile app.
- BetRivers could try to launch in Arkansas once legalization is achieved. This mobile app is popular and has great market depth and variety. It’s also active in many states like Colorado.
Arkansas DFS Betting
Arkansas is cracking down on third-party Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) companies, including Underdog Sports and PrizePicks. On Feb. 15, 2024, the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration sent cease and desist letters to the companies.
Like many states, Arkansas thinks the player vs. house gameplay mirrors a player prop bet at the three legal sportsbooks in the state.
Arkansas Sports Betting Updates
February 15, 2024:
The state took in about $53 million in sports bets for the month of December. Arkansas bettors wagered about $404.8 million for the calendar year.
January 30, 2024:
Kansas City Chiefs fans from Missouri may make a trip south to visit an Arkansas Sportbook soon. Legal Super Bowl betting isn’t available in Missouri, but you don’t have to be an Arkansas resident to use an Arkansas sportsbook. Your device just needs to be geolocated inside state lines.
October 31, 2023:
Arkansas generated over a $44.9 million handle for October 2023. This is up 10% from September’s handle.
August 31, 2023:
Arkansas generated a $20.2 million sports betting handle in August, up 31% from July.
Arkansas Sports Betting Revenue
There’s no denying that the arrival of online sports betting market brought in much more state revenue compared to the days of kiosks and betting windows at the three casinos.
But the state will continue to see stunted tax revenue under the current system.
Arkansas closed out 2023 with almost $53 million in December sports bets. The total is up 71.2% from the same month in 2022. Comparing November’s $54.8 million to December, betting was down about 3.3% for the month of 2023.
How Arkansas Sports Betting Compares To Other States
At the moment, Arkansas’s sports betting industry is better than those of states that don’t have any options whatsoever.
Major sportsbooks such as DraftKings, FanDuel, or Caesars aren’t likely to partner with Arkansas’s three casinos under final regulations that limit third-party sportsbooks to no more than 50% of net receipts from statewide online sports betting.
Compare that to Iowa, another state with 3 million residents. It doesn’t have the 50% cap on net receipts. As a result, bettors in that state have almost 20 sportsbooks to choose from — including all of the most popular brands.
The Arkansas policies protect Saracen Casino Resort, Southland Casino Racing, and Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort. They control the state’s retail and online sports betting markets.
The next level of growth will need some policy changes, however. The most well-known sportsbooks don’t see Arkansas as a viable state for expansion at the moment.
If and when major sportsbooks like DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM enter the Arkansas market, this will benefit sports wagering enthusiasts. They’ll be able to choose from the best versions of various sportsbook apps or even wager on multiple apps while “line shopping” for the best available bets.
Arkansas’s other gambling offerings are middle-of-the-road. For example, the state has three retail casinos up and running, with a fourth casino expected to open eventually.
Horse racing and wagering are also legal under the pari-mutuel model, and the state has run an official lottery since 2009.
Fans of online casinos or poker have to turn to sweepstakes sites to get their fixes instead.
Arkansas Sports Betting Successes And Failures
Arkansas is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to sports betting successes and failures, with some good strides in some areas and lesser results in others.
Going live with online sports betting was a big step in the right direction. It’s good to see legal betting options of any kind in the Natural State.
The state has friendly college sports betting policies as well. Not all states allow bets on in-state college programs or events. Arkansas does, so bets on the Razorbacks are available. That’s an important benefit in a state with no major pro sports franchises.
Arkansas is missing out on too much revenue because policies are too prohibitive to attract the most well-known companies.
We’d like to see Arkansas expand its online gambling operations to include not only legal mobile sports wagering but also licensed online casinos.
Arkansas has great potential for growth, but lawmakers need to remove market barriers if they want the state to enjoy a robust source of revenue.
Latest Arkansas Sports Betting News
Arkansas Teams to Bet on
Arkansas doesn’t have in-state major pro franchises, but Arkansas shares borders with states like Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, and Louisiana, all of which have major professional sports franchises that have their own fans across the country.
- NFL teams — Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, Tennessee Titans
- MLB teams — Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers
- NBA teams — Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder
- NHL teams — Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues
College Sports In Arkansas
Arkansas, of course, is in the heart of SEC Country, so college sports bettors are as passionate as anyone in the Natural State.
The Arkansas Razorbacks get much of the attention as the state’s only major conference program. They’ll have new neighboring rivalries to enjoy once the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners begin SEC play in 2024.
The next tier of programs with a healthy fan base begins with the Arkansas State Red Wolves. They reached the Camilia Bowl at the end of the 2023 season. The university’s basketball programs compete for March Madness in the Sun Belt Conference.
Three more teams compete for March Madness at the Division I level:
- Arkansas-Pine Bluff (UAPB) Golden Lions
- Central Arkansas Bears
- Little Rock Trojans
UAPB and Central Arkansas field FCS football programs. Little Rock does not have a football program to bet on.
While professional and college sports are fairly popular in Arkansas, sportsbook apps will also let you put money down on a variety of other niche sporting events and activities. These include activities like darts, NASCAR races, MMA fighting, and soccer leagues around the world.
Time will tell how the market variety develops for online sportsbooks.
Arkansas Responsible Gaming
The Arkansas Problem Gambling Council is in place to promote financial literacy and to guide people who are negatively impacted by gambling. The site includes a three-question survey to help bettors understand their risk level for problem gambling.
A helpline is available at 1-800-522-4700 or email [email protected] for more assistance.
The council also features national resources on the state website, including 1-800-GAMBLER, a chat option, and a link to gamtalk.org.
How to Place a Bet in Arkansas
With sports betting legal in Arkansas, new users can learn how to bet on sports. Gamblers in Arkansas have a few different options when it comes to betting on sports. There are three legal mobile sports betting options as well as multiple retail options. Lets go over how to sign up and bet at a mobile Arkansas sports betting app.
Download a Sportsbook App
You’ll first need to download the sportsbook app of your choice to your mobile device. Depending on the device you have, the process may be slightly different:
- iPhone users should be able to simply type the name of their chosen app into the Apple App Store search bar. Then download the app and allow it to install automatically to your device, as well as install geolocation software.
- Android users will first need to see if the sportsbook they desire is included on the Google Play store. Only some sportsbooks are available on this platform at this time, though all popular app choices could be available on the Google Play store by the time Arkansas finally legalizes mobile sports wagering.
- If the app you want isn’t available on the Play Store, visit the app’s desktop site and download it to your Android phone or tablet from there.
As mentioned, installation should start automatically without any prompting on your part. Then you can open the app and move to the next step of the process.
Register for the App
You’ll next need to register for the app by opening it on your phone and providing some key pieces of personal information. These will likely include your date of birth, personal address, and Social Security number. All this information will be quickly verified by the sportsbook app’s staff.
Fortunately, HB 1942 proposed online-only registration for Arkansas residents. Any future sports wagering legislation will likely include the same provision. So you don’t need to worry about having to register in person at a partnered casino to complete the process.
Fund Your Account
Once you’ve registered for your sportsbook of choice, you’ll be able to fund your account and start placing bets using a variety of deposit methods. Different sportsbooks offer different deposit methods, but these are the most popular:
- Debit and credit card transfers
- e-Check transfers
- Electronic wallet transfers from PayPal and/or Skrill
- Direct bank transfers
You should keep your initial deposit amount in mind before you make a final decision. Some sportsbook platforms, like DraftKings, offer a deposit match bonus that awards you with extra site credit. However, the amount of site credit you get is dependent on the initial deposit you make.
For instance, DraftKing’s bonus kicks in with a 20% rate for up to $1000 of site credit. So if you were to deposit $500, you would get $100 of site credit for free.
Regardless, once you fund your account, you’ll be able to finally start placing wagers.
Place a Bet
All you’ll have to do at this point is navigate through your sportsbook and find a betting line that looks attractive. Place a wager and cross your fingers!
Arkansas Sports Betting FAQs
Yes. Arkansas mobile sports betting is legal and available in Arkansas. Southland Casino Racing became the first operator to launch online sports betting in Arkansas.
You need to be 21 years of age or older and inside state lines to place a mobile sports bet in Arkansas.
Yes. Arkansas sports bettors can wager on college sports in the state. Bowl options are the Arkansas Razorbacks and Arkansas State Red Wolves. Add UAPB, Central Arkansas, and Little Rock as betting options when March Madness rolls around.
No, but you will need to be within state lines. Arkansas’s sportsbook apps will use geolocation software to make sure that you don’t put money down outside state lines.
The Arkansas Racing Commission oversees and regulates legal online sportsbook apps in the state.
No, FanDuel is currently unavailable in Arkansas for online or retail sports betting.