Is Sports Betting Legal in Arkansas?
One of the fastest ways to get sports betting legislation introduced is to sit around and watch while neighboring states make a push for legalized sports betting. Arkansas is virtually locked by states that have already done that, as Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Louisiana have all already had discussions.
In all honesty, Arkansas seems like a pretty logical state for the growth of sports betting. Oaklawn Park is one of the state’s big money makers and horse tracks and sports gambling seem to go hand-in-hand. It is easy to use the betting terminals and the off-track betting areas for the purposes of sports wagering. Furthermore, Arkansas just recently got past the roadblocks that were preventing daily fantasy sports from being legal in the state. That 2017 ruling certainly casts a positive light for those hoping to be able to bet on the Razorbacks.
While Arkansas does not have casinos, the state doesn’t totally shy away from gambling. As mentioned, Oaklawn Park and Southland Park both bring in gambling dollars and have slot machines to go along with the electronic table games. Oaklawn recently added some live dealer games as well. Arkansas picked up the lottery in 2009, so this is a state that has been moving in the right direction with gaming for quite some time.
On the other hand, Arkansas has been very slow to react for a while. There may not be any urgency to implement sports betting, even if the state is losing tax dollars and gaming dollars to bordering areas.
Recent News Stories About Betting
While Arkansas’s recent track record suggests that they are moving in the right direction, this very strong THV 11 article didn’t sound nearly as optimistic about a quick resolution.
Max Brantley of the Arkansas Times reports that signatures are being gathered for an expansion of casino gambling in the state. A November vote could take place. Burying the lede to get you intrigued, but it also includes an amendment to the current state statute that bans sports wagering.
The timeframe is anyone’s guess, but legalized sports wagering should happen in Arkansas. Over the last decade, the state has implemented a lottery, agreed to games of chance and skill at the race tracks, and seems to have a more progressive mindset overall on gambling.
If that current petition picks up steam, we could see Arkansas with sports betting within the next two years. If not, it will only be a matter of time.