Arkansas Online Poker Law
The birthplace of Amarillo Slim, Arkansas is the home to two racetrack casinos (sometimes called racinos) that offer casino floor gambling in the way of electronic table games. Southland, which is a greyhound track, even has a poker room that utilizes PokerTek electronic poker tables.
The electronic tables have been around since 2005, when the legislature authorized the “Games of Skill” act. This allowed its two racetracks to house electronic poker and blackjack. Oaklawn track and casino has been operating since 1901, and Southland since 1956. The Oaklawn's poker tables have since closed.
Still, this should be encouraging to Arkansas’s online poker aficionados. It shows that its legislature is willing to look at additional revenue streams and listen to the state’s historical and unique businesses. It also may indicate that its legislature would be willing to contract with other states that host online poker sites, or accept a federal online poker law. The door is opened a crack, at least.
But if recent events can predict the future, the legalization of online poker at a state level in Arkansas is far off.
A referendum effort that, if passed, would have allowed casinos to open in four counties, failed to reach the state’s ballot in 2012. The validity of the ballot was challenged by a group funded by the two racetracks. The state’s Supreme Court killed the ballot measure, but that fight continues.
Arkansas has the Scholarship Lottery, which offers many games, including an instant-draw game that is played at stores’ lottery terminals.
No lawmakers have proposed online poker or gambling expansion, and its two tracks have showed no interest, either. Lawmakers would most likely face a vocal minority of religious protestors if they did, making this an unsavory topic in Arkansas, despite the millions of tax dollars that could be generated a year through online poker.
Arkansas already requires its electronic-table players to pay a three percent tax on their winnings.
Like many of its neighboring states, Arkansas gambling law comes down hard on the operators, but lets its players off with a relative slap on the wrist. The maximum fine for placing a bet is $25. Arkansas has no history of prosecuting online poker players.
Will Online Poker Become Legal in Arkansas?
The eight ball says … reply hazy, try again. The best hope online poker players based in Arkansas have is for a federal online bill to be passed. Momentum for a federal online poker bill is gaining, but this is the era of the Great Washington D.C. Traffic Jam. There is absolutely no movement at a state level.
Estimated Online Poker Consumer Base
If you consider that about 10 percent of adult Americans played online poker when it was available in the United States, Arkansas has a potential poker market of about 280,000. That’s about the same as the population of St. Lucia, which is not only gorgeous, but allows its residents to play online poker.