Arkansas is a state with legal sports betting. However, it is a relatively small market when compared to some of the other states. While online and retail sports betting are available in Arkansas, that wasn’t the case when the industry was first legalized.
There are only a handful of retail sports betting locations and a limited amount of mobile sportsbook apps in the state. There might be a chance for some expansion in the coming years. However, you shouldn’t ever expect Arkansas to become one of the leaders in the sports betting industry.
History Behind Legal Sports Betting in Arkansas
Arkansas sports betting dates back to November 2018 when voters in the state approved a constitutional amendment in the election. When sports betting was first legalized, wagers were only accepted at the three retail casinos that were already in operation.
The Arkansas Racing Commission was put in charge of sports betting in the state. They also receive all of the license applications and then hand out those licenses. Sports betting didn’t launch in the state until July 2019, and it took a while for this industry to take off.
Near the end of 2021, the Arkansas Racing Commission passed rules that would allow for online sports betting. Those rules were officially passed by lawmakers in early 2022. That year, the first mobile sportsbook launched.
There has been no real discussion about expanding the sports betting options in Arkansas, and that places some severe limits on the bettors in the state. No news has come out surrounding sports betting in the first few months of 2023.
Financial History Behind AR Legal Sports Betting
Arkansas has put up some modest total sports betting handle and total revenue numbers since launching sports betting in 2019. The total sports betting handle is over $300 million.
The total sports betting revenue in the state of Arkansas now sits at just over $32 million. Arkansas sportsbooks have won nearly 11 percent of all of the wagers.
With a high tax rate, especially for mobile sports betting, Arkansas has done pretty well in terms of generating tax revenue. The state has collected $4.3 million in tax revenue since 2019, and that number will continue to grow as more mobile sportsbook options become available.
The total sports betting handle for a month has gone over $430 million just two times throughout history. There have also been just two months in which the revenue was more than $3 million.
Sportsbook Apps in Arkansas
Even though Arkansas is a state that now has online sports betting, there are only three mobile apps available in the state. That number is expected to grow at some point, but the Arkansas Racing Commission has not yet started to issue any licenses.
Currently, it is the casinos in Arkansas that have been able to launch a mobile app, and you aren’t going to see any of the really big names available yet in the state. Only one of the mobile apps offered can even be found in another state throughout the country.
Betly Sportsbook, BetSaracen, and Oaklawn Sports are the only three mobile sports betting apps in Arkansas at this time. That has been the case since 2022.
There are eventually going to be up to eight mobile licenses handed out to online-only operators, and that should attract some of the biggest names in the industry. Nothing is confirmed yet, but you could see the following operators looking to launch:
Land-Based Locations to Bet on Sports in Arkansas
There are three retail sports betting locations in Arkansas. However, a fourth location has been approved as well. The initial Arkansas sports betting law allowed for betting at the two casinos that were at racetracks, and a standalone location. Lawmakers in the state also approved plans for a fourth casino.
Even though all of the initial wagering was done at these retail sportsbooks, these locations didn’t see a ton of action when the industry launched. Three land-based locations currently offer Arkansas sports betting:
- Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort
- Saracen Casino Resort
- Southland Casino Racing
It is unclear when the fourth location is going to officially open, but it will be built in Pope County. These retail sportsbooks are scattered throughout the state, giving residents from all parts of Arkansas a chance to place bets.
Sports Teams to Bet on in Arkansas
Arkansas is a state that is not home to any professional sports teams. However, betting on college sporting events is legal in the state. The Arkansas Razorbacks are one team that attracts plenty of betting action, especially when it comes to college basketball and college football.
There are still some professional teams that are extremely popular throughout the state and sports fans tend to follow teams from surrounding states. Two of the most popular teams include the Dallas Cowboys and the Memphis Grizzlies.
Dallas remains one of the most popular NFL teams in the country, and the Cowboys have a massive following in the state. Betting on the NFL is already the top option when it comes to sports wagering, and Arkansas bettors flock to the sportsbooks to bet on that team.
The Memphis Grizzlies are one of the up-and-coming teams in the NBA, and they have started to pick up fans all around the Tennessee area. Betting on the NBA is also popular throughout the country, and the Grizzlies are the most popular team to wager on in Arkansas.
Sports bettors in the state of Arkansas are betting on all of the top professional sports and college events, but there aren’t any clear favorite teams when it comes to Major League Baseball or the National Hockey League.
FAQ for betting in Arkansas
When did sports betting become legal in Arkansas?
Sports betting officially became legal in November 2018 when voters in the state approved a new constitutional amendment. The first sports bet was placed in July 2019.
What is the legal gambling age in Arkansas?
The legal gambling age in Arkansas is 21 years of age. There is some variation throughout the country, but 21 is the standard legal sports betting age.
Is mobile sports betting available?
Yes, mobile sports betting is available in the state of Arkansas, but that wasn’t always the case. It took a while before the Arkansas Racing Commission approved rules that would allow for online sports betting.
Is betting limited to Arkansas residents?
No, betting is not limited to Arkansas residents. However, you have to be physically inside of the state to place a wager. Location services must be enabled on your mobile device so that geolocation services can pick up your location.
Can I bet on college sports in Arkansas?
Yes, betting on college sporting events is legal in Arkansas, including prop bets, but that’s not the case throughout the country. Some states have a ban on betting on college sporting events, but this is a legal option in the state of Arkansas.