Arkansas Sports Betting

GamingToday.com is an independent sports news and information service. GamingToday.com has partnerships with some of the top legal and licensed sportsbook companies in the US. When you claim a bonus offer or promotion through a link on this site, Gaming Today may receive referral compensation from the sportsbook company. Although the relationships we have with sportsbook companies may influence the order in which we place companies on the site, all reviews, recommendations, and opinions are wholly our own. They are the recommendations from our authors and contributors who are avid sports fans themselves.

For more information, please read How We Rank Sportsbooks, Privacy Policy, or Contact Us with any concerns you may have.

Gaming Today is licensed and regulated to operate in AZ, CO, CT, IN, LA, MI, NJ, NY, PA, TN, and VA.

Arkansas mobile sports betting received final state legislative approval on February 22, 2022, and at least one sportsbook app launched in time for March Madness. Southland Casino Racing became the first operator to launch online sports betting in Arkansas on March 7.

State residents should not expect any nationally-branded sports apps in Arkansas before the men’s NCAA Tournament tips off. 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 percent of net receipts from statewide online sports betting.

Former Arkansas state lawmaker and current sports betting industry lobbyist John Burris represents DraftKings and FanDuel previously made that point to the Arkansas Racing Commission (ARC).

“If they say no to what we offer, we can’t do business here,” Burris told the ARC, as reported by Gaming Today. “We just feel like the 50 percent revenue cap requirement keeps us from negotiating in a traditional way that the sports betting companies engage in other states in what is a win-win.”

The state’s casinos are Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff, Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis, and Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs. They already control the state’s retail sports betting market and are prepared to enter the mobile market solo, Arkansas Racing Commission spokesperson Scott Hardin told Gaming Today in an email.

Hardin said ARC anticipates at least one of the casinos will launch its own casino-branded sportsbook in March.

Let’s break down exactly what happened with Arkansas’s past failures with sports betting legislation, and also explore the available land-based sportsbooks you can check out right now.

Arkansas Sports Betting Recent Updates

Arkansas mobile sports betting received final state legislative approval on February 22, 2022, but a clunky process cost mobile bettors the chance to bet on March Madness via app despite initial optimism. Since then, Arkansas has seen continued growth within the state.

Southland Casino Racing became the first operator to launch online sports betting in Arkansas on March 7. The Southland Betly online sportsbook is available to anyone 21 and older. Southland’s Betly mobile app was made available on April 26, 2022. Impressively, the Betly had pulled in $3.3 million during their first month of operation despite not having a mobile app during that time.

On May 12, 2022, the BetSaracen sports betting app launched and Arkansas finally had multiple mobile operators for users to choose from. One week later on May 19 we learned that Betly’s online sportsbook had already pulled almost 40% of the total handle in Arkansas for April despite not having their iOS app available for most of the month.

Missouri opted against legalizing sports betting on May 26, 2022, so expect to see Arkansas benefit from their decision. Southern Missouri residents could easily use the BetSaracen and Betly apps while visiting. Missouri will now need to wait for at least one-year until they could see legalization.

The Arkansas Razorbacks successfully advanced to the College World Series on June 13, 2022 after defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Super Regionals round. Expect in-state bettors to fully enjoy this great accomplishment by the powerhouse baseball team.

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 percent of net receipts from statewide online sports betting.

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 gap in the state’s sports betting industry that other legislators were eager to fill with a future bill.

That bill 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.  

Arkansas Sports Betting Timeline

  • July 25, 2022:

    Arkansas sports betting reached a new peak. After the first full month of sports betting operations for BetSaracen, Arkansas totaled a handle of $12.6 million for June.

  • June 13, 2022:

    The College World Series rolls through Arkansas as the Razorbacks defeated the North Carolina Tar Heels in the regional round.

  • May 12, 2022:

    The BetSaracen sports betting app launched, giving users a second option after Betly was established in late April.

  • April 26, 2022:

    Southland launched the iOS-supported Betly sportsbook, achieving the claim to being the first sports betting app for Apple devices in Arkansas.

  • March 24, 2022:

    The University of Arkansas men’s basketball team upset top-seeded Gonzaga, 74-68, to advance to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament.

  • March 7, 2022:

    Southland Casino Racing became the first operator to offer online sports betting in Arkansas.

  • February 22, 2022:

    Arkansas mobile sports betting received state legislative approval in time for March Madness.

  • February 17, 2022:

    Online sports betting could launch in Arkansas in time for March Madness if given final legislative approval.

  • April 30, 2021:

    The Arkansas legislature’s 2021 session ends without passing the Arkansas mobile sports betting bill.

  • April 21, 2021:

    The Arkansas House of Representatives passes over HB 1942 and does not discuss or vote on it.

  • April 19, 2021:

    Rep. Lee Johnson introduces HB 1942 to the House of Representatives.

  • January 15, 2021:

    Senator Will Bond proposes SB 669. This sports betting bill would’ve permitted electronic wagering on any athletic events, such as online sports betting. Though it was referred to a special Senate committee, it did not progress to a vote.

Top Sports Betting Apps Coming To Arkansas

While we don’t know for sure which mobile sportsbook operators will eventually reach Arkansas, we can make a few educated guesses given Arkansas’s proximity to other states like Colorado, which have booming mobile sports betting industries. 

The 51% rule is a major sticking point for apps like FanDuel and DraftKings, who would have to agree to give their casino partners at least 50 percent of net online sports betting receipts. It may keep the major sportsbooks from entering the Arkansas market.

Former Arkansas state lawmaker and current sports betting industry lobbyist John Burris represents DraftKings and FanDuel previously made that point to the Arkansas Racing Commission.

“If they say no to what we offer, we can’t do business here,” Burris told the ARC, as reported by Gaming Today. “We just feel like the 50 percent revenue cap requirement keeps us from negotiating in a traditional way that the sports betting companies engage in other states in what is a win-win.”

Let’s assume the hurdle of the 51% rule will be overcome in identifying potential sportsbooks that will operate in Arkansas.

  • 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 Legal Sportsbooks

Arkansas mobile sports betting received final state legislative approval in February 2022.

Southland Casino Racing was the first operator to launch online sports betting in the state on March 7, and a sportsbook app on April 26.

Major sportsbooks like DraftKings, FanDuel, or Caesars aren’t likely to be operating in the state anytime soon. Current regulations limit them to no more than 50 percent of net receipts from mobile sports betting.

All in all, it’s a good time for Arkansans with legal mobile sports wagering now a reality. Sports bettors can also check out retail sportsbooks at three out of four authorized brick-and-mortar casinos in Arkansas:

  • Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs, which opened in April 2019
  • Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis, which also opened in April 2019
  • Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff, which opened in October 2020

There’s a fourth casino that has not yet been fully constructed: River Valley Casino, due to open in Russellville sometime in 2022.

Each of the operating casinos has a retail sportsbook up and running. Sports betting revenue is taxed at 13%. It should be noted that none of the retail sportsbooks are run by major mobile operators. Instead, the sportsbooks are:

  • Oaklawn Race & Sportsbook
  • Saracen Casino Annex Sportsbook
  • Betly Sportsbook at Southland Casino Racing

Arkansas Sports Betting Revenue

At the moment, Arkansas’s only sports betting revenue comes from its land-based operations. Still, they’ve brought in collectively over $7.7 million in sports betting revenue after two years of operation.

But there’s no denying that mobile sports wagering will bring in much more state revenue for the government through taxation than the current retail operations. Many other states that offer both online and in-person sports betting see a revenue percentage difference of 80%. Most of their tax revenue comes from mobile platforms.

Just how much money could Arkansas’s mobile sports betting industry make? We can’t say for sure, but we can look at another state, like Colorado, and make some predictions.

Official data indicates that November 2021 saw revenue of more than $36 million for Colorado’s online sports betting industry. While Colorado is more populous than Arkansas, this does go to show that online sports wagering would be a big boon for the state government, especially since the government is hurting for cash in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

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.

State residents should not expect any nationally-branded sports apps in Arkansas before the men’s NCAA Tournament tips off on March 15. 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 percent of net receipts from statewide online sports betting.

The casinos are Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff, Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis, and Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs. They already control the state’s retail sports betting market and are prepared to enter the mobile market solo, Arkansas Racing Commission spokesperson Scott Hardin told Gaming Today in an email.

Hardin said the ARC anticipates at least one of the casinos will launch its own casino-branded sportsbook no later than March 13. Although he did not mention the casino by name, Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff is a likely candidate. The casino is actively promoting its proprietary BetSaracen app on its website, asking customers to opt in for updates on “monthly casino promotions and the coming launch announcement of Saracen’s online sports betting app.”

If and when major sportsbooks like DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM enter the Arkansas market, this will benefit sports wagering enthusiasts as well. 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 by the end of 2022.

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.

Arkansas Sports Betting Success

Arkansas mobile sports betting received final state legislative approval on February 22, 2022, and at least one sportsbook app expects to launch in time for March Madness.

State residents should not expect any nationally-branded sports apps in Arkansas before the men’s NCAA Tournament tips off on March 15. 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 percent of net receipts from statewide online sports betting.

The casinos are Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff, Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis, and Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs. They already control the state’s retail sports betting market and are prepared to enter the mobile market solo, Arkansas Racing Commission spokesperson Scott Hardin told Gaming Today in an email.

Hardin said the ARC anticipates at least one of the casinos will launch its own casino-branded sportsbook no later than March 13. Although he did not mention the casino by name, Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff is a likely candidate. The casino is actively promoting its proprietary BetSaracen app on its website, asking customers to opt in for updates on “monthly casino promotions and the coming launch announcement of Saracen’s online sports betting app.”

Arkansas mobile sports betting became legal in February 2022.  

Where Arkansas Could Improve Online Gambling

We’d like to see Arkansas expand its online gambling operations to include not only legal mobile sports wagering but also licensed online casinos. Should mobile sports betting provide the state government with lots of revenue, we might see additional online gambling developments after its launch in March.

Legalization Effort In Arkansas

Arkansas mobile sports betting received final state legislative approval on February 22, 2022, and at least one sportsbook app expects to launch in time for March Madness.

State residents should not expect any nationally-branded sports apps in Arkansas before the men’s NCAA Tournament tips off on March 15. 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 percent of net receipts from statewide online sports betting.

The casinos are Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff, Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis, and Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs. They already control the state’s retail sports betting market and are prepared to enter the mobile market solo, Arkansas Racing Commission spokesperson Scott Hardin told Gaming Today in an email.

Hardin said the ARC anticipates at least one of the casinos will launch its own casino-branded sportsbook no later than March 13. Although he did not mention the casino by name, Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff is a likely candidate. The casino is actively promoting its proprietary BetSaracen app on its website, asking customers to opt in for updates on “monthly casino promotions and the coming launch announcement of Saracen’s online sports betting app.”

Mobile sports betting will launch in Arkansas next month and in time for March Madness.

The 51% rule is a major hurdle for third-party apps like FanDuel and DraftKings, who would have to agree to give their casino partners at least 50 percent of net online sports betting receipts. It may keep the major sportsbooks from entering the Arkansas market.

Former Arkansas state lawmaker and current sports betting industry lobbyist John Burris represents DraftKings and FanDuel previously made that point to the Arkansas Racing Commission.

“If they say no to what we offer, we can’t do business here,” Burris told the ARC, as reported by Gaming Today. “We just feel like the 50 percent revenue cap requirement keeps us from negotiating in a traditional way that the sports betting companies engage in other states in what is a win-win.”

The legalization effort for mobile sports wagering first began in 2019 when SB 669 was put forward by Senator Will Bond. This provisional bill would have legalized mobile sports betting and made Arkansas among the first states to expand this gambling activity.

Unfortunately, it never made it to a vote. But many elements of this bill showed up later in HB 1942, which progressed much further and eventually made it to the state legislature to be debated. HB 1942 effectively died before it reached the House of Representatives floor.  

Upcoming Sporting Events Available For Betting

March Madness

Thursday, March 24

  • Arkansas vs. Gonzaga
  • Michigan vs. Villanova
  • Texas Tech vs. Duke
  • Houston vs. Arizona

Friday, March 25

  • St. Peter’s vs. Purdue
  • Providence vs. Kansas
  • North Carolina vs. UCLA
  • Iowa State vs. Miami

NBA

Thursday, March 24

  • Wizards at Bucks

Friday, March 25

  • Warriors at Hawks

Saturday, March 26

  • Rockets at Trail Blazers

Sunday, March 27

  • Jazz at Mavericks

UFC

Saturday, March 26

UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Daukaus

PGA Tour

Thursday, March 23-Sunday, March 27

World Golf Championships — Dell Technologies Match Play

NASCAR

Sunday, March 27

EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas

Arkansas Teams

While Arkansas doesn’t have any professional teams that compete in major sports leagues like the NFL or NBA, it does host many minor league sports teams.

Furthermore, Arkansas shares borders with states like Mississippi and Louisiana, both of which have major professional sports franchises that have their own fans across the country.

Arkansas Professional Sports Teams

With mobile sports betting now legal in Arkansas, you’ll be able to put money down on major NFL, NBA, MLB, and other professional sports leagues games. You’ll also be able to put money down on major teams like the New Orleans Saints, the Kansas City Chiefs, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, the Tennessee Titans, and other major franchises.

In fact, you can already put bets down on these teams and their associated games at the retail sportsbooks found at Arkansas’s brick-and-mortar casinos.

College Sports In Arkansas

College sports are where things get much more important for Arkansas sports bettors. Collegiate sports wagering is legal at the retail sportsbooks found at the above-mentioned casinos. As a result, Arkansas residents can put their money down on the Arkansas Razorbacks: arguably the most popular NCAA Division I football team in the state. Mobile sports betting will also allow bets on in-state college teams.

In addition to the Arkansas Razorbacks, the Arkansas State Red Wolves have their own dedicated fans. Also popular are Arkansas’s Division I basketball teams, such as the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions or Centra Arkansas Bears.

Other Sports To Bet On In Arkansas

While professional and college sports are fairly popular in Arkansas, mobile sportsbooks 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 even eSports competitions.

Time will tell how the market variety develops for mobile sportsbooks.

How To Place A Bet In Arkansas

No matter which specific mobile sportsbook operators end up reaching Arkansas, you can rest assured that the wagering process will be pretty similar in this state to the process you have to follow in other states with legal industries.

Let’s break down how you’ll be able to place a bet in Arkansas using a mobile sportsbook app once a bill finally passes the state legislature.

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

Is online sports betting legal in Arkansas?

Yes. Arkansas mobile sports betting received final state legislative approval on February 22, 2022, and at least one sportsbook app expects to launch in time for March Madness. Southland Casino Racing became the first operator to launch online sports betting in Arkansas on March 7. The mobile app is not yet available, but it could be in the near future.

How old do you have to be to bet online with sportsbooks in Arkansas?

You need to be 21 years of age or older to place a mobile sports bet in Arkansas.  

Will it be legal to bet on college sports in Arkansas?

Yes. Arkansas sports bettors can wager on college sports in the state.

Will you need to be a resident of Arkansas to bet online?

No, but you will need to be within state lines. Arkansas’s mobile sportsbooks will use geolocation software to make sure that you don’t put money down outside state lines.

Who will be in charge of regulating online sportsbook apps in Arkansas?

The Arkansas Racing Commission will oversee and regulate legal online sportsbook apps in the state.  

Is FanDuel legal in Arkansas?

FanDuel currently only provides daily fantasy sports in Arkansas but does not offer sports betting in either retail or online capacities.

About the Author
Amber Hoffman

Amber Hoffman

Amber is the Managing Editor of Gaming Today. She writes for a variety of websites in diverse industries, including gaming and travel and is a fan of international football (not "soccer") and Gaelic sports.

Get connected with us on Social Media

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]