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Arkansas Sports Betting

After years of plodding along without online sports betting, Arkansas has finally popped the cork – and it might lead to unprecedented handle for the Natural State.

Online sports betting finally became a reality in Arkansas in March 2022 following nearly three years of retail-only options. And while things are happening slowly on the online front as 2022 moves along, it shouldn’t be long before some of the bigger sports betting operators in the industry turn their eye toward this jewel of the south central U.S.

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  • Pro: Largest retail sportsbook in America.
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Caesars is proving to be one of the most aggressively expanding brands in sports betting. Unfortunately, like all major U.S. sportsbooks, they are quick to limit you if you go on a tear and their odds boost promos offer low maximum bet limits.

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BetMGM Review

BetMGM is one of the top-rated sportsbooks in the U.S. offering some of the best live betting odds in the industry. They’re also the largest iGaming operator across the U.S.

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  • Pro: Seamless transition from DFS to sportsbook with one wallet.
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FanDuel Review

FanDuel reigns supreme right now as the No. 1 betting site in America. And it has largely earned that spot on the strength of superior brand recognition, an easy-to-use product, an overwhelming number of markets for North America’s most popular sports, and representation in every state in which it is permitted to offer legal sports betting.

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  • Pro: Lots of promos and odds boosts.
  • Con: Indirect and unhelpful customer service.
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DraftKings Review

DraftKings had a solid reputation as the leading DFS provider in the country, so the shift to legal sports betting felt natural. They offer one of the most voluminous collections of ongoing promos and odds boosts in the industry as they cater to the beginner crowd. However, their reputation has dwindled as outspoken CEO Jason Robins leads the charge of the anti-profitable bettor mentality that runs rampant amongst sportsbooks that are quick to limit winning players.

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PointsBet Review Logo Online since: 2015
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PointsBet Review

PointsBet’s innovative nature shows that they don’t want to just be another book you place typical bets. Unfortunately, they are quick to limit bettors on a hot streak and limit the number of promos you’re able to take advantage of, making it necessary for you to shop at other books regularly.

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  • Pro: Interactive bets with their known personalities.
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Barstool Sportsbook Review

Barstool Sportsbook’s controversial practices have made them one of the most polarizing companies in sports media. In addition, their fun-over-function business model offers little profitability for bettors who quickly find themselves limited after a hot streak.

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  • Pro: Above-average betting limits.
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WynnBET Review

Wynn has been steeped in the legal gambling scene in Vegas for as long as anyone out there. In other occurrences where you have an operator with a rich history and influence in retail casino operations and resorts, the focus can predominantly be on slots and table games. The online sportsbook can be a casualty of convenience. We were pleasantly surprised to find that isn’t the case with the WynnBET app. 

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  • Pro: Established global sports betting brand.
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Unibet Review

Unibet offers its customers an excellent online betting experience. Our Unibet review feels that the company's experience as a global brand shines through with a streamlined, easy-to-use gaming platform.

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  • Pro: Large offering of alternative lines and props.
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BetRivers Review

Unless you live near a physical casino/sportsbook to potentially take advantage of some rewards programs, there is no reason to use BetRivers as your primary sportsbook.

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  • Pro: End-to-end tech through its ownership of Bet.Works.
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Bally Bet Review

Bally Bet’s bare-bones operation and limited features don’t warrant much consideration as a part of your regular sportsbook rotation unless you find holes in their lines. Still, it’s a company to be bullish about going forward.

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SI Sportsbook Review

The Sports Illustrated Sportsbook is very much in its infancy, which is noticeable upon browsing the betting site or app, as the design is mediocre to go along with below-average betting odds. However, their relationship with 888 Holdings should allow them to evolve as they continue to grow in this hyper-competitive space.

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Hard Rock Sportsbook Review Logo
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  • Pro: If the house is a rockin' don't bother knockin'
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Hard Rock Sportsbook Review

Hard Rock sportsbook is an excellent choice for super casual bettors. It is simplistic and offers some of the best sign-up bonuses for new users looking to try sports betting for the first time or those betting for light entertainment.

Bonus iconKnown for: Promos vary by state.

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Arkansas Betting Apps

Unfortunately for Arkansas residents and visitors, there really isn’t much to choose from when it comes to sports betting options within the state. And while that’s likely to change in the coming months and years, for the time being, Arkansans will need to swallow hard and accept the meager sportsbook selection in place.

Arkansas Promos and Bonuses

An expansion of mobile sports betting in Arkansas will mean plenty of bonuses and offers for anyone making wagers within state lines. We encourage everyone to maximize their bonus and offer exposure, since many of these first-time inducements result in real cash landing in sports bettors’ accounts, with little playthrough required (for the most part).

Arkansas Sports Betting Quick Facts

πŸš€ Launch Date       March 5, 2022
πŸ’° # of Betting Sites       Two
πŸ“± Online Sports Betting       βœ… Yes
🎰 Retail Sports Betting       βœ… Yes
πŸ–₯️ Online Casino       ❌ No
πŸƒ Retail Casino       βœ… Yes
🏈 College Sports Betting       βœ… Yes
🌎 2022 Population (est.)       3.04 million
πŸ’΅ 2021 Betting Handle       $67.7 million
πŸ’Έ Tax Rate       13 percent

How to Bet in Arkansas

Choose your sportsbook

Once online sports betting operators begin to enter AR, you can consult our top list above for the best sports betting options available to you. Our interactive list will allow you to sort sportsbooks based on a number of criteria, including banking options, bonuses and quality of customer service.

If you’re looking for more information before making your choice, be sure to check out our detailed, unbiased reviews for each of the top sportsbooks in Arkansas. This is especially important if you want to understand how each book’s bonus offers work.

Register online

Registration requirements will vary slightly by sportsbook, but most follow the same protocols. Be sure to have your personal information (name, address, phone number) and credit card details (number, expiry date, CVV) handy.

Deposit and claim your bonus

Once you’re comfortable with how your sportsbook’s new signup bonus works, it’s time to make your initial deposit and claim that sweet bonus. The majority of first-time offers for Arkansasns come in one of two forms:

  • Risk-free bets: This offer guarantees you a refund on your first wager if it is graded as a loss. The sportsbook will refund your initial bet amount (up to a specific limit) either as cash or as site credit.

  • Deposit match: This offer sees the sportsbook match your initial deposit dollar-for-dollar, though there are two caveats. The deposit match will come with a maximum limit, and in the majority of cases you will be required to “play through” your initial deposit by a certain multiple in order to earn the bonus.

Select and finalize your bet

Congratulations! You’re ready to place a wager. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the app interface before diving in. Most mobile operators make it easy for new sports bettors to navigate, but it’s still a good idea to know where everything is.

From there, you can place any type of wager you like; the most popular bet types are the moneyline, spread or total. You can also dive into team or player props, or even kick things off with a futures bet.

Once you have the desired wager(s) in your betting card, take one last look to ensure you’ve made the selections you want. If everything is good, simply click the “Bet” button – and you’re off!

Arkansas Legal Sports Betting History

Getting retail sports betting in place was the easy part for Arkansas lawmakers and sports betting operators. Mobile wagering? That has proven much more difficult.

Between debates over the number of skins each casino would have to how much money the sportsbooks would be forced to pay (hint: it’s a lot), it sure seemed for a while like Arkansas legislators weren’t all that concerned about even having mobile sports betting in place. Eventually, common sense prevailed – but it will be interesting to see what kind of interest Arkansas attracts among the marquee operators.

Here’s a look at Arkansas’s sports betting history:

2018-19: Voters Approve Gaming Expansion

Mere months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, Arkansas voters approved Arkansas Issue 4, a constitutional amendment allowing for a massive gaming expansion – including sports betting.

The process moved relatively quickly from there, with Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort taking the state’s first legal sports bets in July 2019. Exactly three months later, Saracen Casino opened its proprietary in-house sportsbook to become the second venue to offer legal sports betting in Arkansas.

2020: Three Players in the AR Space

Southland Casino Racing joined the sports betting club in January 2020 in partnership with Betly Sportsbook, giving Arkansans three retail wagering options. 

Then, just as the state’s retail sports betting market really seemed to be hitting its stride, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the sports world – and with it, Arkansas’ three retail sportsbooks. It took months for the industry to rebound; thankfully, with the NFL and NCAA football seasons moving ahead, Arkansas sports betting did recover.

2021: More Online Skins, But With a Major Catch

Most of the 2021 sports betting year in Arkansas was uneventful, with the three existing retail sportsbooks making significant year-over-year gains but legislators seeing little progress on an expansion into the online sports wagering space.

Just two days before the end of the calendar year, the Arkansas Racing Commission dropped a bombshell. It passed a set of regulations that would allow for online sports betting while awarding two skins apiece to the state’s four casinos (the three already in operation along with the Pope Country casino, which was still being built.)

The catch (and it was a big one): the requirement that sportsbooks give a whopping 51 percent of their sports betting revenue to their partnering casino. Representatives from several high-profile sports betting operators voiced their objections, but to no avail.

2022: Mobile Betting Debuts in Arkansas

Online sports betting was trending in the right direction heading into 2022, even while the ARC removed mobile wagering from the legislative agenda just prior to the Super Bowl (thereby eliminating the possibility of bettors being able to wager on the Big Game from their phones). The rule changes were ultimately approved the following month, and mobile sports betting officially became legal on March 4. 

Betly wasted no time getting into the space, launching its mobile web offering one day after the official start date. It took Saracen a little longer; it launched its BetSaracen app on May 10 after dealing with a litany of delays due to testing and vendor issues.

Responsible Gaming in Arkansas

Like most states, Arkansas has put safeguards in place to ensure that bettors have a way out of any potential trouble spots. 

The Arkansas chapter of the National Council on Problem Gambling is the state’s main online resource for players who seek help. Visitors can access a variety of help options from the site, including Gamblers Anonymous, Gam-Anon and mental health services.

Visit the National Council on Problem Gambling site.

Sports Leagues to Bet On

It will come as no surprise to see a rather extensive list of major professional and amateur sports available to Arkansas bettors – a list that includes (but is not limited to):

  • NFL
  • NCAA Football
  • NBA
  • NCAA Basketball
  • MLB
  • NHL
  • Golf
  • Auto Racing
  • Tennis
  • Soccer
  • MMA

That doesn’t leave much off the table, but there are two major markets in which wagering in Arkansas is prohibited:

  • Politics
  • Esports

Arkansas Retail Sportsbooks

The retail options are limited in Arkansas, with just three brick-and-mortar sportsbooks offering legal sports betting within state borders. Here’s a list of the retail sportsbooks available to those in Arkansas:

Oaklawn Casino Racing Resort (Oaklawn Sportsbook, 2705 Central Ave, Hot Springs, AR, 71901)

Saracen Casino Resort (BetSaracen Sportsbook, 1 Saracen Resort Dr, Pine Bluff, AR, 71601)

Southland Casino Racing (Betly Sportsbook, 1550 N. Ingram Blvd. West Memphis, AR, 72301)

Arkansas Sports Betting Tax & Handle

Here’s a look at Arkansas’ monthly sports betting handle beginning in 2019:

2019

MonthHandle
July        $0.4 million
August        $0.8 million
September        $2.2 million
October        $2.2 million
November        $2.9 million
December        $2.6 million
Total$11.2 million

2020

MonthHandle
January        $2.5 million
February        $4.3 million
March        $1.5 million
April        ---
May        ---
June        ---
July        $0.2 million
August        $1.0 million
September        $3.9 million
October        $6.5 million
November        $6.2 million
December        $6.4 million
Total$32.8 million

2021

MonthHandle
January        $7.1 million
February        $4.4 million
March        $5.9 million
April        $4.0 million
May        $3.6 million
June        $3.8 million
July        $2.9 million
August        $2.8 million
September        $7.0 million
October        $9.5 million
November        $8.3 million
December        $7.8 million
Total$67.7 million

2022

MonthHandle
January        $8.4 million
February        $5.9 million
March        $10.7 million
April        $8.6 million
May        $10.2 million
June        $12.6 million
July        $9.3 million
August        $10.1 million
Total$75.6 million

After seeing incremental gains through its retail-only sports betting model and having to deal with a months-long freeze due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Arkansas finally broke through during the 2021 NFL season, posting a record $9.5 million handle in October. The debut of mobile wagering resulted in a new mark of $10.7 million in March 2022. 

Operators pay 13 percent in tax on the first $150 million of net gaming revenues, and 20 percent on net revenue exceeding the $150-million plateau. Further to this, sportsbooks must relinquish 51 percent of all revenues to the casinos to which they’re tethered.

Arkansas Sports Betting FAQ

Can I legally wager on sports in the state of Arkansas?

Yes! Retail sports wagering officially kicked off July 1, 2019, while mobile betting first came into play in March 2022.

Am I permitted to bet in Arkansas even if I don’t live there?

You can create an account, deposit, make bets and withdraw using any regulated mobile sports betting app in Arkansas, as long as you are within state borders. Be sure to complete all of your transactions before you leave, however; once you’re outside the state, you will no longer be able to access your account(s).

Can I bet on esports in Arkansas?

Esports was not part of the initial sports betting bill, so it remains illegal in Arkansas – though that might change at some point in the future.

How big is the Arkansas sports betting market?

The Natural State ranks 33rd among U.S. states in population at just over three million (2022 estimate).

Who is responsible for overseeing sports betting in Arkansas?

The Arkansas Racing Commission has jurisdiction over sports betting in the state. You’ll find plenty of information on the website, though it primarily deals with regulations for greyhound and thoroughbred racing (along with rules for casino gaming).

Will there be more online sportsbook operators in Arkansas in the future?

Almost certainly. The state has allowed for as many as six online sportsbooks to operate within state lines, and with only two of them spoken for so far, it’s only a matter of time before other sports betting companies enter the market. That said, not every operator will be pleased with Arkansas’ brutal revenue share requirements.