Arkansas Sports Betting

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Is Sports Betting Legal in Arkansas?

Yes, sports betting in Arkansas has been legal since Nov. 2018, and the industry went live nine months later in July 2019. But until March 5, 2022, Arkansians who wanted to place legal sports bets had to visit one of the state’s three casinos for in-person sports betting.

A rule change in Feb. 2022 extended the scope of Arkansas sports betting, allowing statewide online sports betting in the state. Though Arkansas online sports betting is live now, the controversial sharing revenue rule formulated by the state has impeded the growth of the new market.

Arkansas sports bettors can drive to three out of four authorized Arkansas casinos to have in-person sports betting:

  • Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs (opened in April 2019)
  • Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis (opened in April 2019)
  • Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff (opened in Oct. 2020)

The fourth casino, River Valley Casino, is planned to open in Russellville later this year.

Each of the casinos has a functional retail sportsbook, with sports betting revenue being taxed at 13%. Importantly, none of the three sportsbooks are operated by any major online operators. The three Arkansas retail sportsbooks are:

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

Horse racing and wagering are also regulated under the pari-mutuel model, and Arkansas has run an official lottery since 2009.

Where Can You Bet Online in Arkansas?

Arkansas bettors who want to place a legal online bet have just one option: Betly app. Owned by Delaware North, Betly Sportsbook already offers in-person betting at Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis.

Betly app, also available in West Virginia, launched its desktop version on March 5, 2022, to offer sports betting to Arkansans in time for March Madness. But thus far, Betly Arkansas sportsbook is available on PC and Mac browsers only in Arkansas. The initial launch did not include mobile betting app.

Betly is the Hobson’s Choice for the Arkansans because Saracen Casino Resort has so far failed to launch its online product despite its promises to do so.

Each of the state’s three casinos can launch mobile apps under their own brand as they are not legally bound to partner with national operators like BetMGM.

The state law allows six available mobile skins in the market and two more when the fourth casino will be operational sometime in 2022.

How is Sports Betting in Arkansas Regulated?

Sports betting in Arkansas is regulated by the Arkansas Racing Commission. The commission is responsible for making and enforcing rules for in-person and Arkansas mobile sports betting operators. The commission was the governing body in charge of approving the state’s controversial 51% profit-sharing formula between local casinos and their mobile partners.

Arkansas Sports Betting Apps You Should Expect Soon

As said before, Arkansas online sports betting fans have Betly as the only digital option. But they can soon expect BetSaracen, a digital arm of Saracen Casino Resort, and Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort’s Oaklawn Anywhere.

Each of these three casinos can have at least one additional mobile partner – which still keeps the hope alive that Arkansasans can see national operators such as BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Caesars. All these operators have some sort of partnership with Arkansas gaming entities.

Legalization Efforts for Arkansas Online Sports Betting

Sports betting in Arkansas had been illegal until voters approved the measure with a 54% majority to allow the state’s three casinos to offer retail sports betting. There was no provision in the amendment for statewide online sports betting then.

Sports betting legislation for Arkansas mobile sports betting was first witnessed in 2019 when Sen. Will Bond put forward SB 669. The measure would have legalized mobile Arkansas sports betting. But unfortunately, the bill could never see the light of the day. But much of SB 669’s aspects were present in HB 1942, which made it to the state legislature for debate. However, HB 1942 too died before it could reach the House floor.

With sports betting limited to retail sports betting at Arkansas’s three casinos and many state bettors still driving to Tennessee and elsewhere for mobile sports betting, the Arkansas Racing Commission considered legalizing mobile wagering in Arkansas. In Nov. 2021 commission meeting, sports betting in Arkansas saw a dramatic change when the panel voted to release rules for Arkansas online betting market and set a public comment period.

“I’d like to see this done as soon as possible,” Arkansas Racing Commission Chairman Alex Lieblong said regarding online sports wagering in Arkansas at that time.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson also indicated support for the Arkansas sports betting industry, saying, “The people have spoken, and I respect their will.”

The governor’s comments came after the voters approved retail sports betting in 2018. In later years, when Tennessee launched its online-only sports betting industry and Louisiana has also legalized it more recently, Hutchinson also affirmed his support for Arkansas online sports betting.

Last December, the Arkansas Racing Commission – which governs sports betting in the state – unanimously voted to allow mobile sports betting through local casinos. The rules granted the local casinos 51% of the proceeds when partnering with mobile companies. The national average of revenue-sharing between local casinos and their online operating partners is 5-15%.

The Natural State launched the online sports betting market in time for the NCAA tournament following a controversial rule that received final approval by Arkansas Joint Budget Committee on Feb. 22, 2022. Southland Casino Racing took the lead as the first operator by launching Betly online sportsbook in Arkansas on March 7. However, its online operations are limited to PC and Mac browsers as it is not available on mobile at the time of writing this review. As of now, no other online sportsbooks are available in the State.

Arkansas Sports Betting Law

The following are the key points of Arkansas sports wagering law and would apply to AR betting apps and AR sportsbook online apps that will launch in the coming days:

  • Arkansas bettors must be 21 or over.
  • Arkansas Racing Commission will regulate sports wagering in the state.
  • Sports betting is allowed on professional and college sports, including games involving Arkansas-based schools.
  • Each Arkansas casino is allowed to have two mobile skins. There are currently three casinos up and running in the state, but a fourth commercial casino in Russellville later this year will mean eight mobile operators in the state in a fully operational market.
  • A 51% revenue-division formula means any mobile partner will have to give more than half of its revenue to the casino it will partner with.
  • The lion’s share of gaming tax revenue is allocated to Arkansas’ general fund.

Why are BetMGM, DraftKings Missing from Arkansas Mobile Market?

The national giants such as BetMGM and DraftKings are expected to launch in Natural State. But the state’s controversial rule that demands a 51% revenue-sharing revenue arrangement has been problematic. The national average is 5-15% profit share.

As a result, major sportsbooks such as BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Caesars have not immediately tethered with Arkansas’ three casinos. For now, Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff, Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis, and Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Spring appear to enjoy the newly regulated Arkansas online market.

A fourth casino, currently under development, will have its own sportsbook once opened in the next couple of years.

The not-so-ideal online sports betting launch in the state is mainly due to its close market structure, keeping the major operators away.

In Nov. 2021, an official spokesperson reported that Arkansas had already raised nearly $1.75 million in tax revenue in the two years since Arkansas sports betting was legalized.

We can now imagine the considerable potential for revenue growth when the Arkansas online sports betting market combines with the retail market. It’s rightly believed that the Arkansas legal betting app market will contribute the lion’s share in the handle, revenue, and profits.

How To Place a Legal Online Bet in Arkansas?

You must be 21 years of age or older to place a legal online bet in Arkansas. Let’s break down how you can place a wager in Arkansas using a mobile app.

Download a Sportsbook App

You need to download your favorite sports betting app to your mobile device. The process may vary depending on the device type you have.

  • For iPhone users: simply type the name of your preferred app into the Apple App Store search bar. Then download it to your device. Also, install geolocation software.
  • Android users need to make sure whether their preferred app is included in the Google Play store. Currently, there are limited options. But the situation may change soon.
  • If the app you’re looking for isn’t available on the Play Store, go to the desired app’s desktop site and download it to your Android phone from there.

Register For the App

The next step is to register for the mobile app by opening it on your mobile device and providing personal information – including your name, date of birth, address, etc.

Fortunately, the Arkansas law allows for digital-only registration. So you don’t have to go in person to one of the casinos to get you registered as a legal Arkansas bettor.

Fund Your Account

After registering for your preferred online sports betting app, you can now fund your account and begin placing wagers using multiple deposit methods. Each sportsbook offers different deposit methods. The most popular methods are:

  • Direct bank transfers
  • Debit and credit card transfers
  • e-Check transfers
  • Electronic wallet transfers from PayPal and Skrill

Placing a Bet

After funding your account, you can navigate through your preferred online sports wagering app to find the betting line that you’re looking for. Place a bet and wish yourself good luck!

Arkansas Teams to Bet on

Arkansas currently doesn’t have any professional teams to compete in major sports leagues such as NFL or NBA. However, the Natural State, which boasts some formidable college teams, hosts many minor league sports teams.

But with mobile wagering now regulated in Arkansas, you can now place sports bets on major NFL, NBA, MLB, and other professional league games. You can also put money down on major teams, including the New Orleans Saints, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Dallas Cowboys, the St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Texans, the Tennessee Titans, and various other major franchises.

College Sports in Arkansas

In fact, college sports are more important for Arkansas residents, who have legal online sports wagering at the three retail sportsbooks established in the state’s casinos since 2019.

Arkansas bettors can put their money down on the Arkansas Razorbacks – the most popular NCAA Division I football team in the state. The Razorbacks have actually won their March Madness title only recently in 1994. The Razorbacks have since made the NCAA Tournament 13 times, managing one runners-up place, besides two Elite Eight appearances and one Final Four appearance. Those who want to wager on Arizona can currently bet on all of their NCAA games as the state law allows betting on in-state college teams.

Besides the Arkansas Razorbacks, other popular basketball games include Arkansas’s Division 1 basketball teams like the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions or Central Arkansas Bears. The Arkansas State Red Wolves also claim a huge fan following.

Other Sports to Bet on in Arkansas

Besides professional and college sports, Arkansas mobile sportsbooks will also allow you to bet on plenty of other sporting events and activities. These include NASCAR races, MMA fighting, eSports competitions, and darts.

Top 5 Arkansas Sports Teams to Bet On

University of Arkansas

In the absence of a professional sports team, Arkansas bettors’ first most popular choice is to wager on the University of Arkansas. As said before, Arkansas sports betting law allows betting on college games involving in-state schools.

The University of Arkansas – a member of the Southeastern Conference – is the most high-profile collegiate program in the state. The AR sports betting site will allow a variety of options for fans for their favorite choice.

Arkansas State

The Red Wolves football team is the second-most popular option for Arkansas state bettors to consider. The team, founded in 1911, represents Arkansas State University in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Football Bowl Subdivision college football competition. Since 2001, the Red Wolves have been a member of the Sun Belt Conference.

University of Arkansas-Little Rock

The Little Rock Trojans – a non-football member of the Sun Belt – are the athletic teams. They represent the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, offering 7 men’s and 8 women’s varsity sports.

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys compete in the NFL as a member club of the league’s National Football Conference East div. It is the most popular team in the Razorback State, whose residents will find plenty of lines for the Cowboys on betting websites AR. The betting options will include moneyline, NFL future, in-game betting, props, spread, and total wagers.

St Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals, which compete in Major League Baseball, have over a dozen radio affiliates in Arkansas and a huge fan base throughout the state.

Bets Available at Legal Arkansas Sports Betting Apps

Arkansas online sports bettors will find a variety of betting types, which some new bettors may find confusing. Here, we’ll explain some of the most common bets available at legal Arkansas sports betting sites. So you may place your first bet and expect to win big!

Moneyline

Choose the team you expect will win the game. A favorite team is represented with negative odds (such as -170), which shows how much you must wager in order to order win $100. An underdog is represented with plus-odds, showing how much you would win with a $100 bet.

Point Spreads

Pick your team you think will win, as you do with the moneyline. But the definition of win is slightly different in point spread betting. Instead of an outright win, you’re expecting to see if your favorite team can maintain a specific margin of victory or defeat. If Arkansas is +17 against its competitor, it must lose by 16 points or less (or win) to cover the spread.

Totals

AR sportsbook sets a predetermined point total, and you bet on whether the game will finish with a score that is over or under that total. This form of betting is also referred to as “the over/under”.

Parlays

Parlays combine two or more wagers into one bet slip. You can combine moneyline, point spread, point total bets, and other kinds of bets in it. Your stake will be less for a huge potential payout. But every event in your parlay must succeed in order for your parlay to win. It means parlays involve a higher risk than when you wager individually on a single event. But a higher risk is worth it as it brings a huge reward if your parlay hits.

Futures bet

A futures bet is a type of bet wagered on a future event – in most cases, weeks or months away. The most common team futures involve championships (for example, the next Super Bowl winner). The most common player future may apply to awards (for example, 2021-22 NBA MVP).

Prop Bets

Prop bets allow you to bet on whether something will or won’t happen in the game – for example, a score in the final three minutes of a football game. Most common props are on the player level.

Teasers

It’s a form of parlay betting where you can customize the lines in your favor in exchange for a lower potential payout. The top Arkansas sports betting sites will offer all the betting types, including teasers.

Arkansas Sportsbook Promo Codes and Bet Bonuses

As the market matures, each AR sports betting app is likely to give an enticing welcome bonus offer, as is the general trend in US sports betting. It is important for you to know some of the most common bonus types you should expect from AR online sportsbooks.

Risk-Free Bets

A “risk-free” bet – also known as bet insurance – ensures that the bettor will get something from their wager. In case of a losing bet, the bettor will receive a free bet refund of their initial stake. That free bet can be used again at the AR sportsbook app to win cash.

Deposit Match

In this bonus type, the sportsbook app offering a deposit match will award you a cash or site credit bonus corresponding with the value of the original deposit you made. Some bonuses are as generous as a 100% match of your deposit. Partial bonuses usually correspond to 20%.

Odds Boosts

The best Arkansas online sportsbooks will offer existing customers odds and frequent boosts. However, some sportsbook apps give extra-special odds boost offers for new customers, with a chance to win a huge cash or site credit. An odds boost offers you a chance to get a greater potential payout (for example, a boosted payout) compared to a standard payout.

What Features to Expect from an Arkansas Betting App

This review will inform you what features you should expect while choosing an Arkansas online betting app. Besides considering a particular app’s welcome bonuses, here are some other features you should keep in mind.

Legal and Regulated

We always recommend you to follow a legal path, including when you’re betting on sports. So while betting in Arkansas online wagering market, always make sure that the site you have chosen is licensed by the state and legal in Arkansas. Currently, Arkansas online sports bettors have fewer choices, but they will soon have more as the Arkansas sports betting law allows as many as eight mobile operators.

Variety of Bets Allowed

Those who are seasons bettors know how they would like to bet (for example, moneylines for NBA, point spreads for football). But we would recommend you prefer the sportsbook that offers an extensive range of bets. It will allow you to experience novel ways to win.

Reputation

This is one of the most crucial aspects of selecting your AR sports betting app. Eventually, you have to decide whether a certain sportsbook app is right for you. You can ask your friends and those who have experienced betting on that app. Or you can look for online reviews. But we only recommend Arkansas sports betting apps with a good reputation and the ones that are legal in Arkansas.

Ease of Deposits and Withdrawal

Sports betting is a pastime for most enthusiasts, with a realistic chance to win some money. So, one of the most important things to keep in mind while choosing your Arkansas online betting app is that it has an easy and secure deposits and withdrawals method. If your preferred app has a convenient banking option, allowing online bank transactions, it should be fine. But we recommend you make sure that the sportsbook allows the deposit and withdrawal methods of your choice.

Customer Support

Still, the most critical feature, which may sometime be ignored, is customer support. Ideally, customers don’t want to use this feature. But you must know that whenever you need to use it, it’s not going to fail you. Best AR sportsbooks have a live chat, phone support, and email support. It should also include online sports betting FAQs, helping you find your answers from it.

Arkansas Online Sportsbook Apps You Can Expect Soon

The Arkansas sports betting law allows as many as eight online sportsbooks to launch in the state. Currently, the major operators have not launched due to the controversial 51% law. But they can launch their online sports betting operations any time in the near future. The following operators are the most likely candidates:

Caesars Arkansas Sportsbook App

Caesars Casino & Sportsbook Logo

After acquiring William Hill last year, Caesars Sportsbook is one of the leading US operators. The Nevada-based company has already partnered with Gulfside Casino – the owners of the fourth casino planned in Arkansas, River Valley Casino.

If you believe in welcome bonuses or customer loyalty programs, you’ll definitely love what the Caesars Sportsbook promo code is going to unveil. With the Caesars Rewards program, your bets will get you reward credits, which you can use at hotels, restaurants, retail sportsbooks, and via the mobile app.

Expected Welcome Offer: $1,100 first bet insurance

Current Status: Awaiting license application

DraftKings Arkansas Sportsbook App

Draftkings Logo

DraftKings is another likely candidate for Arkansas’s legal mobile sports betting market. The Boston-based company already provides daily fantasy sports to Arkansas players. Since DFS was legalized in 2017, DraftKings has been a household name in Arkansas.

In 2020, DraftKings merged with SBTech – the sports betting partner of Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort.

DraftKings was present at the Dec. 2021 Arkansas Racing Commission meeting, confirming its plans to launch Arkansas mobile sports betting.

Expected Welcome Offer: 20% first-deposit bonus worth up to $1,000

Current Status: Awaiting license application

BetMGM Arkansas Sports Betting App

BetMGM Logo

BetMGM – a sports betting arm of MGM Resorts International – has grown to be one of the leading sportsbooks in the US.

Nevada-based MGM already maintains two casino properties in neighboring Mississippi and indicated its intention to expand into Arkansas at the meeting of the Arkansas Racing Commission in Dec. 2021.

MGM offers an enticing new-customer promotion and daily odds boosts, allowing you to have a well-rounded sportsbook app in Arkansas.

Expected Welcome Offer: $1,000 risk-free bet on first bet

Current State: Awaiting license application

FanDuel Arkansas Sports Betting App

Fanduel Logo

FanDuel, like DraftKings, has already made its way into Arkansas through daily fantasy sports. The New York-based company will be among the leading AR sports betting apps when it comes to the Natural State.

FanDuel has already partnered with IGT – a gambling technology provider that powers sports betting operations at both Saracen Casino Resort and Southland Casino Racing.

Expected Welcome Offer: $1,000 risk-free bet on your first wager

Current Status: Awaiting license application

TwinSpires Arkansas Sportsbook App

Twinspires Logo

In 2019, Churchill Downs Inc. – the company that owns TwinSpires Sportsbook – partnered with the in-person sportsbook at Oaklawn Racing & Casino Resort.

Primarily known for the Kentucky Derby and pari-mutuel wagering, Churchill Downs boasts an ever-expanding online sports betting platform available in over half-dozen states. The Natural State’s proximity with Kentucky hints that TwinSpires Sportsbook has plans to expand into Arkansas.

Expected Welcome Offer: N/A

Current Status: Awaiting license application

Where Could Arkansas Improve Online Gambling?

We’d like to see legal Arkansas online gambling flourish following its not-so-ideal launch in time for NCAA tournament betting. Currently, Arkansas residents have only one limited online option – Betly online sportsbook. But they are forced to place online bets through their PCs and Mac browsers as there’s no mobile betting option.

Besides, Betly is not a major player in US sports betting as it has only launched in West Virginia so far. Arkansas mobile wagering has a huge potential to provide the state with considerable revenue, but that is only possible when the state eases rules, paving the way for a competitive market.

Any national operator – such as BetMGM, Caesars, or DraftKings – entering Arkansas online sports betting market needs to pay out 51% of its profit share to the local casino it will partner with. It is not fair by any standard. The national average is 5-15%. The state lawmakers should review this law in order to benefit most from further online sports betting launches in the state.

 Arkansas Sports Betting FAQs

Is online sports betting legal in Arkansas?

Yes. Sports betting in Arkansas has been legal since Feb.22, 2022, and at least one online Arkansas sportsbook – Betly – has been available since March 5 in time for March Madness to take NCAA bets in the state. However, for now, Arkansas bettors can place online bets through their PCs and Mac browsers, as the initial mobile launch did not include the mobile app.

What is the legal gambling age to place sports wagers in Arkansas?

You must be 21 or above to place a mobile bet in Arkansas.

Is it legal to place a bet on college sports in Arkansas?

Yes. Arkansas sports betting law allows you to bet on college sports in the state.

Can I bet online on my phone in Arkansas?

Legally you can, but currently, there’s only one online option in Arkansas – Betly online sportsbook – which allows you to place digital bets through your PC or Mac browser. But in the near future when local operators resolve their technical issues, you will be able to bet on your phone in Arkansas. Arkansas mobile bettors can get all their problems resolved if national operators such as BetMGM join in with their state-of-the-art sports betting apps.

Do I need to be a resident of Arkansas to place a legal bet?

No, but you must be within the state boundaries for mobile wagering. Arkansas online sports betting apps will use geolocation software to ensure your physical location at the time of placing a bet.

Who is in charge of regulating mobile sportsbook apps in Arkansas?

The Arkansas Racing Commission oversees and regulates mobile sportsbook apps in Arkansas.

Where Can I Play Daily Fantasy Sports in Arkansas?

You can play any time. The Natural State legalized paid-entry daily fantasy sports (DFS) in 2017, becoming the 11th state to legalize the industry. Major operators like DraftKings and FanDuel currently operate in Arkansas.

Responsible Gambling

Many state and national resources are available for problem gamblers. No matter which state you belong to, you’ll have access to the National Problem Gambling Helpline, Gamblers Anonymous, and Gam-Anon. If you are Arkansan, you’ll have access to the Arkansas Department of Health & Human Services as well.

Retail sportsbooks in Arkansas also provide self-exclusion programs, which bettors can join voluntarily. All regulated sports betting online Arkansas operators will be required to allow limits on time spent on their sites, as well as limits on deposits and bets.

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