Casino Gambling in Arkansas
Arkansas Casino Guide
Did you know that Arkansas was home to one of the largest illegal gambling organizations in the United State? It's true. Hot Springs, Arkansas attracted gamblers from all over the world for gambling across 103 different gambling establishments.
Those have all since closed. So what's casino gambling in Arkansas like today for players in Little Rock or Fort Smith? Well, that depends whether you've got access to a computer. If you do, you can hop on the Internet and play at one of the many Arkansas online casinos that happen to be based outside the state. If you don't have access to a computer, your choice is limited to a few properties with very limited casino game selection. But that could change very soon. Read on for the whole deal.
Looking to gamble online? Click here to skip to the top Arkansas Casinos.
- Population: 2,949,131
- Land Size: 52,035 sq. miles
- Population 18+: 75.8%
- Gambling Age (Casinos): 21
- Gambling Age (Lottery): 18
- Number of Casinos: 2
- AR had the 1st Sin City with illegal gambling in Hot Springs
- The city was also famous for prostitution
- The state has over 600,000 acres of lakes
- Nickname: The Natural State
Zoom in by state:
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Oaklawn Jockey Club2705 Central Avenue
Hot Springs, AR
Southland Greyhound Park1550 N. Ingram Boulevard
West Memphis, AR
History of Arkansas Casino Gambling
You can't talk about Arkansas gambling history without talking about Hot Springs. That was the nexus of illegal gambling in the United States between 1927 and 1967. And the type of sin you could experience puts Las Vegas' Sin City moniker to absolute shame. People came from all over the world to gamble at the 103 illegal casino properties and mingle with ladies of the night who frequented them.
Needless to say, Arkansas has quite a rich history when it comes to gambling. But not all of it is "illegal" history. The Southland Greyhound Park, still in operation today, opened its doors in 1955 - way before the Arkansas online casino boom hit - and quickly became the number one greyhound track in the United States. But Southland wasn't the first track. In 1905, half-a-century before Southland opened its gates, Oaklawn Place was the place for casino gamblers in Arkansas to enjoy a night out.
Online casino players in Arkansas who like to dabble in poker should note that live poker isn't legal in Arkansas. And while each track offers poker games, the cards and betting mechanisms are completely virtual - players are actually dealt cards on a video monitor that sits flat on the playing surface.
For the most part, casino gambling in Arkansas seems to move slowly. But that's expected. After all, Arkansas only launched its state lottery in 2009.
The two big Arkansas casino properties are Oaklawn and Southland. Yes, they're still around. And they've come a long way. Back in the 1900s, neither property actually offered casino games. But that quickly changed in the mid 2000s when neighboring states started expanding their casino game offering. Facing competition, Oaklawn and Southland both began to offer casino style entertainment. Today, you can play a lot of the same games at both properties that you'd find at Arkansas casinos online, including slot machines, video blackjack, video poker, and other casino games.
Casino Gambling Age Restrictions
The legal gambling age in Arkansas varies depending on what type of gambling you want to do. Racetracks and dog tracks require bettors to be a minimum of 18 years of age. Casinos require that Arkansas gamblers, online and off, be 21 years old.
If you're trying to source an Arkansas online gambling site, make sure you know your legal requirements. Many online casinos list 18 years old as the gambling requirement, but they fail to take state law into consideration. As an online Arkansas gambler, it's up to you to make sure you're not breaking the law before you sit down to play casino games on the Internet from Fayetteville or Springdale.
The State of Online Gambling in Arkansas
Currently, there is no law on the books that expressly prohibits Internet gambling. And the Department of Justice in the United States recently ruled that the Wire Act does not apply to Internet casino or poker games. That said, the state of Arkansas does not license nor regulate online casino sites.
The Future of Arkansas Casino Gambling
If you're wondering whether online casino legislation will hit the books any time soon, giving Arkansas online gambling fans a chance to play at a state-licensed and regulated site, you're not alone. While there hasn't been much talk about online casino laws in Arkansas, consider the state's gambling history for a look at what might happen.
For the longest time, the two tracks didn't offer casino games. But when properties in neighboring states started stealing business away from the tracks, the government did everything they could to keep Arkansas gamblers at home. It's very possible that they'll look to do the same thing if neighboring states start taking away online casino business from residents of Arkansas.
But even if legislation doesn't happen, there are tons of Arkansas online casinos to choose from. While none are licensed by the state, many of them are regulated by international gambling authorities from major casino gambling centers around the world.
Gambler's Note: Arkansas casino laws are always changing. The information on this page is for informational purposes only. Always consult Arkansas state law and local regulations before playing at an Arkansas online gambling site.
Arkansas.gov Dept. of Human ServicesThe Arkansas Department of Human Services provides resources for recognizing and getting treatment for problem gambling.
Arkansas Gamblers AnonymousThe official site of Gamblers Anonymous provides information on meetings for those who are affected by problem gambling and gambling addiction.