Arkansas online sports betting is on the blocks and ready to sprint into action: All that remains is for the starting pistol to be fired. When the last few legislative steps have been taken, Arkansas sports bettors will be able to place their first legal sports wager.
As soon as the rules drafted by the Arkansas Racing Commission have been ratified, up to eight Arkansas online sportsbooks will be licensed to take bets from sports fans in the state. As things stand, retail AR sports betting has been legal in three locations in the state since July 2019. However, all eyes are on the state legislature to see when Arkansas online sportsbooks will get the go-ahead.
Our staff of veteran gambling reporters keeps you up-to-date with the Arkansas sports betting news. Our staff of experts pride themselves on bringing you breaking news and analysis of all developments from the world of online sports betting in Arkansas.
The set of rules drawn up by the Arkansas Racing Commission in December 2021 map out eight Arkansas online betting licenses being issued. That equates to two each at the four casinos - one of which has yet to open - located in the Natural State.
It is likely that when Arkansas sports betting launches shortly, the firms that have begun to dominate the online wagering scene in other states that have made online sports betting legal will come to the fore here. Based on their presence in Arkansas and their activities elsewhere, we believe the following organizations will be strong contenders to offer AR online sports betting services.
It will be a surprise if DraftKings does not suit up for the chance to offer Arkansas sports betting services. It is one of the principal providers of Daily Fantasy Sports, which has been legal here since 2017, and that ensures it already enjoys a high profile for sports fans in the state. Additionally, it merged in 2020 with SBTech, the sports betting partner of the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs.
With an outstanding product that mixes a wide choice of sports and betting markets with an excellent user experience, DraftKings will surely be in the running to offer sports betting online in Arkansas. For more info, check out our DraftKings Arkansas expert review.
Like DraftKings, FanDuel made its name as a leading provider of Daily Fantasy Sports - and like its old DFS rival, that means it has a high profile with sports fans in the state already. It has also teamed up with tech provider IGT, which drives the retail sportsbooks at both Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis and Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff.
The FanDuel sportsbook is hugely popular with bettors in other states; they love its excellent user interface, its broad selection of markets, and its regular provision of special offers and bonuses. FanDuel Arkansas will be a powerful contender for a license to offer mobile sports betting in the state.
BetMGM has leveraged the reputation of its parent company MGM and combined it with the sports betting expertise of UK giant Entain to create an outstanding online and mobile sports betting experience. Along with FanDuel and DraftKings, it is in the top three for online sports betting handle in neighboring Tennessee, and it operates two casinos in Mississippi.
It also hinted at its intentions by showing up at the meeting of the Arkansas Racing Commission in December 2021. BetMGM delivers a broad choice of bets and markets and excellent user experience and has to be a major contender for an Arkansas mobile sports betting license. For more info about BetMGM Arkansas check out our expert review.
The Caesars sportsbook has won plaudits across several states for the quality of its user experience and the excellence of its online betting provision. Caesars is a huge name in the world of casinos, of course, but its speedy transition into online and mobile sports betting was helped by the acquisition of UK sports betting stalwart William Hill.
Caesars is the partner of the Gulfside Casino Partnership, which will operate the fourth casino to open in Arkansas, the River Valley Casino in Russellville. Given this link-up and the excellence of the Caesars sportsbook, it is in a powerful position when it comes to securing a license to offer online gambling here.
BetRivers is another online sportsbook that is the product of a quick pivot by a well-known casino operator, the Rivers brand. BetRivers, part of Rush Street Interactive, has moved with impressive speed to launch a quality product in several states.
It was one of the first four brands to go live with online and mobile betting in New York at the start of January 2022. Arkansas bettors may soon get the opportunity to try out the superb sports wagering platform and excellent rewards program on offer.
With a maximum of eight online sports wagering licenses likely to be available in Arkansas, some illustrious names in the online sportsbook world will inevitably be excluded from the list of authorized operators.
The Betly sportsbook is already active in the state. It offers in-person sports betting at Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis and online sports wagering in West Virginia.
Bet365 is the biggest name globally in online sports wagering and would like to add more states to its US roster.
And TwinSpires, whose parent company Churchill Downs Inc provides in-person sports betting at the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs, would surely be interested in bringing its services to another state - especially one so close to its Kentucky heartland.
Arkansas sports betting has been legal since November 2018, when voters came out in favor. In the following year, each of the three casinos currently operating in the state opened a retail sportsbook. However, progress on the launch of Arkansas online sportsbooks has been slower.
The Arkansas legislature meets only in odd-numbered years, so until 2021, efforts to legalize Arkansas sports betting and mobile wagering were resumed. Even then, it took until December for the Arkansas Racing Commission to finalize a set of rules to administer Arkansas online sportsbooks.
There were hopes that Arkansas betting sites would be in business in time for the Super Bowl in February 2022. However, a contentious rule change that would hand casinos 51% of online betting profits was pulled from the schedule in late January - leading to a delay that could mean online wagering may not happen before March.
When Arkansas online sports betting finally gets the go-ahead, it is virtually sure that mobile sports betting will also be on the agenda. Massive numbers of sports bettors now prefer the convenience of mobile wagering. Being able to place a bet wherever you are adds to the appeal of wagering through your device.
When you assess the caliber of the brands likely to obtain a license to operate an online Arkansas sportsbook, it is clear that those in the Natural State who prefer mobile sports betting will thoroughly enjoy the experience. The top-level operators deliver high-quality sportsbook apps with all the features you find on their websites, with outstanding speed and great functionality.
Like most states offering online betting, Arkansas sportsbooks are expected to offer bets on all the most popular leagues and events.
In Arkansas, there's one team for you to bet on and that's the University of Arkansas Razorbacks. Here's some more information on the SEC school located in Fayetteville.
The safest bet anywhere in 2022 is that all the online and mobile sportsbooks licensed to operate in Arkansas will work hard to lure new customers with tempting sign-up promotions and bonuses. The best will also deliver ongoing offers to sustain players' interest and loyalty. New bettors should take advantage of any bonuses in return for opening a new account - they can add serious value to your online betting balance.
Ultimately, deciding which Arkansas sports betting site or sites to use will be a purely personal choice. But there are several factors that should be taken into account before coming to that decision. Let's take a look at some of the attributes an operator should demonstrate to persuade you to make it your own sportsbook.
We will carry reviews of every licensed Arkansas sportsbook for whom taking bets is legal in the state. There are also ways to find plenty of opinions from people in other states that will help you to make up your mind.
People bet on sports in a variety of different ways. Some stick to single bets, others like to parlay. The best AR sports betting sites will also carry a range of markets on every sports event to ensure you can find the wager that suits you. This is an important consideration when it comes to our reviews of the top AR online sportsbooks.
We believe sports betting is an exciting activity. But we also believe it should be profitable if possible. The best AR betting sites will carry competitive odds - one reason to open several sportsbook accounts is so that you can compare which regularly offers extra value for the bets you want to place on sports online.
How do you read the lines? Well, let's say you want to bet on the Dallas Cowboys to win their next game, the odds might be +110 on one site - meaning you win $110 for every $100 you stake. If another site is offering +120 for the same bet, that will clearly give you a greater return.
All the top Arkansas mobile sportsbooks that we recommend will offer a bonus, such as a deposit match or a risk-free bet, to people who open an account with them. Taking advantage of a sign-up bonus when you register can give your account balance a healthy boost right from the start - check out the style of bet that will suit the way you want to enjoy your mobile betting.
It's essential that you are able to find the events you want to bet on, identify the right wager for you, and place it quickly and efficiently. All Arkansas sportsbooks should invest heavily in making sure their user interface is as efficient as possible. This is particularly important when it comes to mobile sports betting - the app you use must be well designed and enable you to place a wager with no hassle at all. But this consideration applies to the desktop offering too, and is a key factor we take into account when reviewing operators offering sports betting in Arkansas.
Perhaps the most important consideration of all is that your chosen new Arkansas sportsbook enables you to deposit and withdraw your money as efficiently as possible. Check out the different online banking methods available - most operators should offer the ability to deposit using debit or credit cards, e-wallets, prepaid cards and bank transfers.
Be aware that many sportsbooks have slightly fewer options when it comes to retrieving your cash after a big win. The speed with which you receive your money is an important consideration for us when assessing AR online sportsbooks.
You don't want to have to get in touch with your chosen AR betting sites to resolve an issue - but should the need arise, you need to have any problem solved as efficiently as possible. Arkansas online sportsbooks should offer several options - including email support, a live chat function, a toll-free phone number and an extensive FAQ question. Live support options score particularly highly in our rankings of Arkansas betting sites.
Choosing just one Arkansas sports betting website or app may be incredibly difficult. There are so many excellent operators competing for your wagering dollars. So it's worth bearing in mind that there is absolutely nothing stopping you opening two, three or even more accounts.
This is an especially smart move when the market has just launched, the competition for your custom is at its most intense and there could be some amazing sign-up deals around. Let's look at some of the other factors that might make multiple registrations a good move for you.
If you have more than one AR mobile sports betting account, you are perfectly placed to compare the odds that different operators are offering. As you become more experienced, you will get to know which Arkansas sportsbooks have the most competitive odds on certain sports - and even at certain times. Some put their next-day prices up earlier than others, and there can be some great value in those opening shows.
If you want to start betting regularly, it can make sense to open more than one account simply to take advantage of the generous sign-up offers for new customers. In competitive markets, where the need to sign up new customers is intense, sportsbooks can offer some amazingly large bonuses.
You could find yourself with a handful of free bets, risk-free bets and deposit bonuses that make your mobile betting experience highly pleasant and relaxing in the immediate future.
Although all Arkansas online sportsbooks will have their own branding and clear identity, some of them will use the same back-up software as others. This can mean you see the same sports offered and the same range of futures and props. By having several accounts, you make sure you are getting the full range of markets and promotions available to AR sports betting customers.
It beats repeating that ultimately, the choice of which Arkansas sports betting site to use will be a completely personal one. The only way to know which sportsbook or sportsbooks will suit you best is to test-drive them, in the same way you would before buying a new car. You will know when you are in the right place, with an operator whose website and app design, range of markets and offers, and general user experience, suit you best.
Not all legal sports betting sites in Arkansas will play by the same rules. It's worth knowing that there will be variations between operators that could impact on the bets you want to place. For instance, you may have to place your initial risk-free bet at odds greater than a particular price. Some operators stipulate -300, others -200... and some impose no restriction at all. Similarly, some sportsbooks refund NFL first touchdown scorer props - others don't, because they include a no-scorer option in their markets. Check out different sites to make sure you are betting somewhere that suits your approach and gives you more chance of getting the value and returns you seek.
Expect a wealth of bet types on offer when Arkansas sports betting launches later this year.
While we wait for sports betting to go live, here's a breakdown of other forms of wagering in Arkansas.
DFS is a great way of getting involved in sporting action, and has been legal in Arkansas since 2017. FanDuel and DraftKings, the two biggest operators, have numerous DFS customers in the Natural State already. DFS games allow you to select a team of players in action in different games - you score points based on their performances.
Arkansas has a proud horse racing history - the Oaklawn track in Hot Springs hosts top-class action, including the prestigious Grade 1 Arkansas Derby. Online betting on horse racing is permitted in Arkansas, while it is also offered at the retail sportsbooks hosted by the three Arkansas casinos where betting is currently allowed.
Some sportsbooks draw up markets for major elections to show how they believe the public's verdict will go. However, they are not allowed to take bets on these markets. Wagering on all political events, including elections, is strictly forbidden across the USA.
As more and more states embrace the potential of legal sports betting, in some territories players are allowed to place bets on ceremonies such as the Academy Awards. However, this is very much the exception rather than the rule. It will be interesting to see if Arkansas betting sites are allowed to take bets on events such as the Oscars, Emmys and Grammys.
In some states, players are allowed to place wagers on esports, which have exploded in popularity in recent years. However, under the rules laid down by the Arkansas Racing Commission, no retail sportsbooks can take bets on it - it does not count as an "athletic sport". It will be intriguing to see if that changes when online Arkansas sports betting goes live.
The first steps towards the legalization of online sports betting in Arkansas were taken in late 2018, when the state's voters opted in favor of permitting retail sports betting at the two casinos then open in the state. A third has opened since, with a fourth casino due to commence business in the near future.
The first sports bet was placed in July 2019 by Wayne Smith, the general manager at Oaklawn. The retail sportsbook at the Saracen Casino in Pine Bluff went live five months later.
It was only in late 2021, however, that the state moved forward with the next stage in the legalization of AR online sportsbooks. The Arkansas Racing Commission voted to adopt new rules that would allow online sports betting in Arkansas. Once these rules are approved by a legislative sub-committee - which is due to happen in early 2022 - the way will be clear for licenses to be issued and a go-live date to be set.
Without knowing precisely how many AR online sports betting licenses will be issued, it is impossible to project what the monthly and annual handle or online sports betting revenue in the state might be.
The retail sportsbooks currently active in the state reported a total handle of nearly $33million in 2020. By the end of 2021, the monthly handle was between $7m and $9.5m. However, even though Arkansas will never be one of the biggest betting states, it is safe to say those numbers will be dwarfed the the handle and revenue totals when Arkansas online sportsbooks commence operations.
The betting tax rate to be levied on profits generated by Arkansas online sportsbooks is one of the sticking points holding up the launch of mobile betting in the Natural State. The rules agreed by the Arkansas Racing Commission stipulate that 51% of sports betting revenue should stay in the state; there is a dispute over the suggestion that proceeds should go to the casino retail partners of the online sportsbooks. It remains to be seen where the profits go, but it looks likely that the 51% rate will be the final number.
The Arkansas Racing Commission, which is part of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, is the body charged with regulating all forms of gambling in the state.
That means it controls:
As things stand, no online sportsbook has forged a partnership with a sports team based in Arkansas. Such partnerships are a great way to boost the profile of a sports gambling operator. However, the fact that sports betting is at such an early stage in its development in the Natural State, coupled with the fact that there are no top-level pro teams based in Arkansas, has made such deals unrealistic.
There have been instances in other states where online sportsbooks have partnered with college teams. It will be intriguing to see if any such deals are done once AR online betting goes live.
All Arkansas sportsbooks should make it as easy as possible for you to deposit money in your new betting account - and to withdraw funds too. Pay-in options should include debit and credit cards, bank transfers, e-wallets and cash at the cage of a partner casino. Licensed operators have extensive security measures in place to give you the reassurance that your money - and all your financial information - is kept safely.
It's worth checking carefully to see that the Arkansas betting site you choose to wager with uses banking methods that work for you. It's equally important to ascertain that the withdrawal methods available will make it easy for you to take money out of your account if you wish to. Most methods should ensure your money is cleared in your personal bank account in between two and five days.
There is no denying that Arkansas is lagging behind many of the other states - about 30 in all - that have now legalized sports betting in some form or other. The fact that Arkansas sports betting is currently restricted to retail sportsbooks at three casino locations, with a fourth soon to open, means the market is smaller than in other territories. However, when Arkansas online sportsbooks are allowed to operate in the near future, it will inevitably generate a significant uptick in handle, revenue, and tax dollars for the state.
Arkansas residents who currently have to travel to one of the casinos in the state offering retail sportsbook facilities will, hopefully, soon have a chance to compare this experience with that of mobile sports betting.
There is something to be said for being in a buzzing room surrounded by like-minded people enjoying the challenge of wagering on sport. However, the sheer convenience of being able to place sports bets without having to leave your front door has revolutionized sports betting in recent decades.
Leading online sportsbook operators have invested considerable time, money and manpower into making the experience of betting on your desktop, or on your mobile device, as straightforward and enjoyable as possible - and millions of Americans across the nation are now sampling the delights of online sports betting.
While Arkansas sports bettors await the launch of AR online sportsbooks, there are three locations where they can place a wager on their favorite athletes, teams and leagues.
The Oaklawn racetrack, which runs its own sportsbook, is located in Hot Springs; Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis carries the Betly sportsbook; and the Saracen Casino Resort's sportsbook in Pine Bluff is provided by the Quapaw Nation. Each of these establishments, as well as the new River Valley facility due to open in Russellville, will be able to partner with two online sportsbooks when the time comes.
It's essential that all bodies involved in any form of gambling encourage responsible gambling at all times. Sports betting is enormous fun; but for a small proportion of people it can lead to addiction and financial and emotional issues. There are several bodies in Arkansas that provide support and practical advice for people who fear they may be developing a gambling problem. They include: The Arkansas Problem Gambling Council & The National Council on Problem Gambling.
Yes, it is. Arkansas sports betting was legalized by public vote in 2018 and retail sports betting has been permitted at three Arkansas casinos since then. The process of making online sports betting legal are close to completion.
It is not yet known when Arkansas betting sites will be permitted to start trading, but it is hoped this will happen early in 2022. This will take place when the final regulatory hurdles are cleared by state legislators and the Arkansas Racing Commission.
The only places where you can currently enjoy sports betting in Arkansas are the three casinos operating in the state. A fourth is due to open shortly.
If you want to place a sports wager in Arkansas, you will need to be at least 21 years old. This is the legal gambling age in the state apart from lottery and horse racing wagering, which can be experienced at 18.
It is expected that Arkansas online sports betting operators will pay a rate of 51% on their revenues. It has not been decided yet how the proceeds will be distributed.
No, you will not need to be a resident of Arkansas to wager at an online sportsbook. However, you will need to be physically located within state lines to be able to place your bets.
The only organizations allowed to offer Arkansas sports betting are the three casinos located in the state. When AR online betting is legalized, it is expected there will up to eight licenses issued to operators.
Martin Booth covers a gambit of topics for BetArkansas.com as an award-winning contributor covering sports betting and casino gaming around the world for decades, Martin Booth is one of the most trusted voices in online gambling. From legislative updates in Arkansas to breaking down the top betting apps in AR.