Arkansas is a conservative state. It has conservative values, which affect its gambling laws and culture. There is currently no single minimum age to gamble. Rather, the type of game will dictate the age required to play. For instance, land based casinos, poker rooms, online casinos, online sports betting, and online poker require a minimum player age of 21 years. However, bingo, the lottery, dog and horse racing, and online bingo only require a minimum player age of 18 years. There is no distinction between online and land based gambling with respect to the law. Sports fans may, in fact, engage in online sports betting. This is a recent development.
Arkansas Casinos (Gambling Centers)
There are no land based casinos in Arkansas. In fact the state has only two gambling facilities – a horse racing track (Oaklawn Park) and a dog racing track. These 2 tracks also offer electronic games of skill (video poker, blackjack & reel games) and instant racing electronic games. There used to be a few internet cafes but in 2012 the state started closing down such cafes.
Oaklawn Park – located in Hot Springs and has horse racing track 4 months of the year and year round gaming. Oaklawn is loaded with skill games and even features an electronic poker room!
Southland Park – located in West Memphis is the greyhound racing track and also has over 800 electronic gaming machines. Southland has plenty of video poker games to go along with the slots, virtual craps and even 2 types of roulette games.
Penalties for Breaking Gambling Laws
Although the more exciting, so to speak, forms of gambling are illegal in Arkansas, generally speaking, the penalties for participating in them are relatively minor. For instance, card games betting, e.g. poker, can result in penalties between $10-$25 (Arkansas Penal Code Section 5-66-112). For illegal gambling that occurs in someone’s home, these small monetary penalties are typically for players rather than the players who host such parties. Hosts can be prosecuted for holding gambling parties in their homes, but enforcement is not that frequent. However, when charged with the most egregious of gambling offenses, such as operating illegal poker rooms, a conviction can potentially lead to a six year prison sentence. Generally, home games will not result in such a seemingly draconian prison sentence, but it is possible.
There have been no recent developments with the gambling laws in Arkansas. We will update these section with any changes or new bills related to gambling.