Legal Online Poker in Arkansas
Aside from its hot springs, beautiful rivers, and lakes, Arkansas is also known for its stringent gambling laws. The state has only three land-based casinos, and they are not permitted to offer any live poker games but only electronic games of skill. Even home poker games are illegal if money is exchanged or rakes are collected.
Despite this, the Land of Opportunity offers other safe ways for its residents to play poker, thanks to sweepstakes casinos and offshore gambling platforms. Additionally, the great news is that the state legalized sports betting in 2019, which indicates that it is gradually expanding its gaming industry.
- Is Poker Legal In AR
- Best Online AR Poker Sites
- How To Signup On A AR Poker Site
- Where To Play Poker In AR
Keep reading to learn more about Arkansas’s attitude toward on-site and online poker and where you can enjoy this casino classic.
Is Online Poker Legal in Arkansas?
The Land of Opportunity has always held an anti-gambling stance. It can be traced back to the 19th century when anti-gambling leagues were formed to punish bettors. But despite the state’s effort to eradicate gambling, some big cities, like Hot Springs, became quite the opposite — gambling Meccas that attracted even the most notorious mob figures like Al Capone and Bugs Moran.
Although the 1874 Constitution of Arkansas prohibited lotteries, the Hot Springs operators continued to lead gambling parlors (thanks to corrupt local officials) up to the Prohibition Era. Poker, craps, and many other table games flourished then. Racetracks were permitted in 1905, only to be banned again in 1907.
However, the state’s gambling stance changed with each change of state officials, though it always remained strict. The situation escalated when the Arkansas Governor, Winthrop Rockefeller, closed all gambling venues and burned the equipment in 1967.
It wasn’t until the 2000s that instant gaming appeared in racetracks. In 2005, Arkansas allowed them to operate electronic games of skill, eventually turning these facilities into racinos. The following years saw the legalization of charitable bingo halls, ruffles, horse and greyhound racing, and the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery.
Finally, poker appeared in racinos in 2008. But it only appeared as an electronic table game to comply with the law. In 2018, on-premises sports betting was legalized, and four sites got permission to expand their operations into full casinos. Currently, Arkansas is home to three land-based gambling establishments.
Nevertheless, no online casinos in the Land of Opportunity offer real-money poker games. No proposal for legalizing online poker or other online gambling has been drafted either. Still, the recent legalization of online sports betting in AR (March 2022) gives hope that the situation may soon change.
Arkansans must follow the law if they wish to play poker.
First and foremost, they must be at least 21 years old (the legal gambling age in Arkansas) and familiar with all the rules AR laws impose.
For this reason, make sure you read the following gambling-related legislation below.
- Local Open Horse Racing and Greyhound Racing Electronic Games of Skill Act — Chapter 113
- The Arkansas Casino Gaming Amendment of 2018
- Arkansas Casino Gaming Rules
Best Legal Poker Rooms in Arkansas
Now that we have covered land-based and online gambling laws, it’s time to discuss places where you can gamble in Arkansas. In the following paragraphs, we will examine which poker rooms AR residents can play their favorite casino classics online and on-site. Read on to find out more.
Legal Online Poker in Arkansas
Arkansas has the same problems as other states regarding online gambling. Internet gambling isn’t explicitly mentioned anywhere in their penal code, meaning its residents are neither allowed nor prohibited to gamble online for real money. One thing is certain — intrastate online gambling sites are strictly prohibited.
So, Arkansawyers have two options. One is to play online poker on sweepstakes-based sites, which is completely legal. These gambling sites aren’t allowed to offer house-banked games, so you can’t make real money bets there. Instead, they use a special currency — sweeps and gold coins. Although this popular gambling model is more about the social experience, if you are satisfied with your winnings, you can redeem the sweeps coins back for real money at the end of the session.
However, serious poker players are extremely frustrated about not being able to play real poker, and many believe online gambling is in the gray area and consider it legal. Thus, they often play at US-friendly offshore casinos.
These platforms are licensed, operate from foreign jurisdictions, and the Arkansas Racing Commission doesn’t oversee them. For this reason, they can offer real money games. Players are also drawn to them for featuring plenty of poker variations, more than you can encounter at any land-based casino. If you’re interested in trying them, we’ve included a list of the best offshore online casinos at the top of this page.
My list of the best US poker sites which I consider to be the best rooms to play in 2023:
- BetOnline Poker
- Ignition Poker
- Everygame Poker
- Juicy Stakes Poker
- Americas Cardroom
- Bovada Poker
- BlackChip Poker
- SportsBetting Poker
100% Legal & Licensed Verified Bonus Mobile Friendly Advertiser Disclosure. Must be +18 to participate.
Land-Based Poker in Arkansas
Given the state’s strict gambling laws, it is no surprise that land-based casinos have only recently opened their doors in Arkansas. In November 2018, the Arkansas state legislature passed Amendment 100, allowing four sites to conduct full casino operations — Hot Springs, Pine Bluff, Russellville, and Memphis.
Finally, on April 1, 2019, Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs and Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis became operational. The third one, Saracen Casino Resort, opened in October 2019. The first two are located at racetracks, while the last one is owned and operated by the Quapaw Nation of Oklahoma. Saracen Casino is the only one with a regulated poker room in the state.
Aside from slots, these gambling establishments offer 30 to 50 table games, including several poker variations, such as Louisiana Stud, Jackpot Hold’em, Three Card Poker, and Ultimate Texas Hold’em. However, you can play these games only against the dealer in Southland and Oaklawn casinos since live traditional poker tables or rooms are not allowed.
Brick-and-mortar casinos in Arkansas go beyond their gaming floors. They also feature bars, restaurants, and sportsbook areas. Furthermore, Southland and Oaklawn casinos have announced they will expand their existing ones and add hotels.
How to Register at a Legal Online Poker Site in Arkansas
In case you are unfamiliar with the registration process, we have prepared a short step-by-step guide for your convenience. Here’s what you must do:
Choose A Poker Room
Browse the list of operators we have supplied and pick one you like.
Click on the link we have provided. It will take you straight to the casino’s official website.
Press the Sign In/Register button and proceed with registration.
Fill out the form with the necessary information to create an account and submit your request.
Verify your account if necessary. Then, log into your account.
Deposit & Play
Head to the Cashier section, choose one payment method and make a deposit.
Wait for the funds to appear on your balance, and then go to the games section. Pick the poker title you want to play, and good luck!
Land-Based Casinos With Live Poker
The Land of Opportunity has only three brick-and-mortar gambling venues. They all offer table games, poker included, and one has a poker room. Although the law prevents them from organizing live table poker, you can still enjoy it in a table-game form. Here is the list of their names and addresses:
- Southland Casino Hotel — 1550 N. Ingram Blvd. West Memphis, AR 72301
- Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort — 2705 Central Ave, Hot Springs, AR 71901
- Saracen Casino Resort — 1 Saracen Resort Drive, Pine Bluff, AR 71601
Final ThoughtsAs demonstrated by the legalization of sports betting, Arkansas legislators and constituents are open to expanding gambling for live operators, despite their historically conservative stance.
Arkansas is unlikely to pass online poker legislation any time soon, but don’t be surprised if they jump on board after some nearby states start legalizing it. There are undoubtedly many internet gambling supporters in the state.