Casino Gambling in Arkansas

Arkansas Casino Guide

Facts About Gambling & Online Casinos in Arkansas

Criminal activities ended casino gambling in Arkansas back in the 1960s. While the state does have charity bingo games, lotteries, and scratch tickets available, Arkansas casinos are non-existent. Players who want to spend time playing in a casino should head online to U.S.-friendly casinos. An alternative is to head to a race track. Greyhound or horse race tracks are permitted to have “electronic games of skill” providing live racing is also offered. As a result, two Arkansas race tracks have slots, video poker, video roulette, and video crap machines, in addition to the race track and horse or greyhound betting.

History of Gambling in Arkansas

At one point in Arkansas’ history, specifically between the ‘20s and ‘40s, the spa-town of Hot Springs saw a rush in illegal gambling, with more than 100 gambling activities found in alleyways, hotels, and saloons. It brought mobsters like Al Capone and Charles “Lucky” Luciano to town. To eliminate the activities, the state banned illegal gambling in 1964. In 2007, the Arkansas Constitution was changed to legalize charity bingo games. This was followed a year later by adding the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery.

With the addition of the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, authorized dealers sell scratch tickets and lottery tickets (Arkansas 50/50, Cash 3, Cash 4, Decades of Dollars, Lucky for Life, Mega Millions, Monopoly Millionaires’ Club, Natural State Jackpot, and Powerball) to interested players. All proceeds go into a grant and scholarship fund that is awarded to Arkansas residents who are attending Arkansas colleges and universities. There are also Fast Play lottery terminals that players can play and possibly win a bundle of cash in a matter of minutes. As previously mentioned, if an establishment features live races, video gambling machines are also legal per Arkansas laws.

Age Restrictions for Gambling in Arkansas

To participate in any of the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery games, you must be 18 years or older. To place bets at one of the tracks you also need to be 18, but to enter their game rooms, you must be 21. You also must be 21 to play in online casinos in Arkansas.

Arkansas’s Casino Gambling Outlook

In 2012, the state turned to voters to see how they felt about changing to constitution to legalize casinos in Arkansas. The proposal was initiated by a hotel owner from Texas who wanted to allow seven counties to open casinos. Nancy Todd, a political consultant and owner of a Las Vegas consulting firm, also put in a proposal allowing four counties to establish casinos. Original polls found that 66 percent of voters were against these proposals. The state found issues with both proposals and refused to acknowledge any votes that were received on the ballots.

There is clearly a push underway to allow casinos to open in Arkansas, but they are not gaining the support from voters or the state at this moment. There’s also SB 745 becoming a focal point in 2015. This bill expands the value of a prize people can win playing coin-operated games, increasing the potential value of a prize to $850.

Local Casinos

Oaklawn Racing and Gaming – Located in Hot Springs, where much of Arkansas’ historic gambling took place, Oaklawn Racing and Gaming is open seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. to close. In addition to horse racing, this expansive establishment offers video poker, slots, and Blackjack.

Southland Park – Southland Park does have greyhound racing, but their gaming machine room also has more than 1,700 machines available. There’s a high-limit room and poker room, but the only games you’ll find are in video form. There are no live-dealer games allowed.