Take a look at our list of the very best Arkansas online casinos that can be accessed by players living within the state. You can also find our list of the best Arkansas sportsbooks here.
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When looking for the best online casinos in Arkansas, it’s important to understand the history of Arkansas gambling and how it developed into what is offered today. It’s also important to look at what elements the best online casino should have to make it stand out and whether these casinos are available to players in Arkansas.
Gambling Laws In Arkansas
Arkansas was once a gambling hub rivaling the likes of Las Vegas. However, that had to drastically change with the implementation of The Federal Wire Act of 1961. This act had most casinos in the US close down. The Federal Wire Act allows no transmissions or communications on wagering on sports.
The Federal Wire Act only mentioned sports betting, but it had a gray area on whether other forms of gambling were also included and as a result, most casinos had to close down. This also included a ban on home poker games, which can still incur a $25 fine today.
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 made sports betting illegal throughout the US. This was the final nail in the coffin for the vast majority of casinos. In 2005, some forms of gambling were once again allowed in Arkansas, with games of skill joining the racetracks hosted in Arkansas.
However, these were defined as electronic devices and online gambling was still unavailable. In 2007 and 2008, charitable bingo and state lottery was approved. Charitable bingo came with heavy wagering limits and restrictions. It defines the total winnings and the percentage of the winnings that need to go to the charity.
The state lottery was approved since it granted school scholarships to Arkansas residents. It has since generated over $700,000 for these scholarships.
In 2018, the Supreme Court declared the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 unconstitutional. This opened up a few avenues to different states, with Arkansas legalized sports betting. Arkansas also approved the opening of two commercial land-based casinos. However, real money casinos are still not legalized.
Online Gambling In Arkansas
While Arkansas has made some steps towards legalizing gambling, real money online gaming providers are still illegal. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) prohibits gambling service providers from making or receiving financial transactions related to online wagering.
UIGEA did not prohibit online gambling itself and the only entity the laws apply to is casino service providers. The UIGEA is still active today. It has resulted in many off-shore licensed casinos banning US players from their online gaming platforms.
Online Casinos In Arkansas
While real money online gambling isn’t legal in Arkansas, there are still some options for players from this state when it comes to playing at online iGaming platforms.
Arkansas licenses no real money online casino to operate. There are six well-known US online gaming licenses, namely New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Michigan, and West Virginia. These licenses won’t allow online casinos to operate in Arkansas. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some offshore casinos offering their services to players in Arkansas.
An offshore license refers to a gaming license given by another country’s gaming authority. There are a few well-known off-shore licenses that many casinos use. The best ones are the United Kingdom Gaming Commission and Curacao licenses, as well as the Malta and Kahnawake licenses. However, these gaming authorities prohibit US players. There are some online casinos using other licenses too, like the Panama and Costa Rica licenses, that will allow US payers. While US players can use these casinos, we would only advise doing so when they are licensed, just as all of our top Arkansas online casinos are.
The legal option for online casinos in Arkansas is the so-called social casinos. Social casinos refer to online casinos that don’t accept real money bets. Instead, players use in-house tokens and sweep coins to play the games. Like any mobile game, players can generally buy tokens.
These are in no way related to making real money wages and real money can’t be won using these games.
Some social casinos don’t even allow the purchase of playing tokens. Instead, tokens are gifted upon registration, and players can win more tokens and sweep coins by playing and winning the games. As there is no real money wagering allowed, it doesn’t constitute online gambling and is so legal in Arkansas.
While real money wagering isn’t allowed in social casinos, players can still win cash prizes at certain ones. These cash prizes can be won using Sweep coins in games. Most social casinos don’t allow players to purchase sweep coins. Instead, sweep coins are won using the tokens players can purchase.
Cash prizes can be won using the sweep coins. As players aren’t making bets with real money, the cash prizes don’t constitute a financial transaction related to online bets and are legal in Arkansas.
Real money online gambling is not yet legal. However, with the legalization of sports betting in 2018 and the opening of Arkansas’ official land-based casino in 2020, it might yet be in the books.
Should the US legalize online casinos, some of the first online casinos to open will likely be connected to their land-based counterparts. This ensures the casinos are trustworthy and secure, as it’s connected to an established casino governed by the US.
Playing at an online casino connected to a land-based one also opens up more possibilities to players. Players can deposit or withdraw their winnings as cash directly from the land-based counterpart. They will also have direct access to customer service in person. However, this is still speculation, so do remember that online casinos are not yet legalized.
Common Elements Of The Best Online Casinos
While real money online casinos licenses by the US aren’t yet available to players in Arkansas, there are alternative options for players. When looking to play at an online casino, there are several things to look out for. These elements apply to both social and real money online casinos.
License, Security And Fairness
Playing in the US, players in Arkansas should play at casinos licensed by the US. Social casinos are generally licensed by the US and are completely legal for US players. However, that doesn’t mean that offshore licenses aren’t trustworthy. So long as the site is licensed then it is legal for US players to access.
To ensure fairness, Random Number Generator (RNG) should be used in the games and this needs to be verified and certified by an independent third-party authority.
Players can see if the online casino uses a testing agency, like Gaming Laboratories International or NMi. The seal of the testing agency should be listed at the bottom of the online casino’s website and sometimes, even the certificate itself is listed. This allows players to relax knowing that the games are fair and could even provide the RTP of different game types.
These days, the vast majority of online casinos are available on all devices using a web browser. Players can play from their mobiles, tablets, desktops, from home or even on the move.
The best online casinos also offer a mobile app for players, available in the Google Play Store or the App Store. This makes it easy for players to access the casino and, in the case of social casinos, makes it easier to purchase tokens in-game.
Online casinos should also use HTML5 elements to run smoothly and load fast. Navigation bars and search tabs give players the ability to find games quickly and instantly access promotions and other features.
Games and Software
Players deserve a large game selection when playing at real money online casinos or social casinos. The best online casinos offer hundreds, if not thousands of games to players.
This includes slots, jackpots, video poker, table games like Blackjack, Baccarat, Craps, Roulette, and more. Slots consist of classic slots, 3D slots, video slots, and 5-reel slots, with many different bonus features like expanding reels, avalanche features, and bonus rounds.
A wider game selection makes it easier on players, as they can stick to one tried and tested online casino and have access to all their favorite games.
Real money online casinos can also offer live casino games, from live Blackjack, Baccarat, Roulette and Craps to game shows and live Monopoly. Sports betting is also an offering that should be looked for, with variants including fantasy sports and eSports often in the mix.
These games can either be provided by the casino’s in-house software team or by top game providers in the industry, like Betsoft, IGT, NetEnt, Microgaming, Relax Gaming, etc.
The software used to run the online casino also plays a big role, as it determines the ease of access and how well the games run and load. Scientific Games Digital, 888 Gaming, Gamesys Group and GAN software are all well-known in the industry to provide both a comprehensive and fun gaming experience.
One of the most important things the best online real money or social casino will offer is bonuses. Bonuses are the incentives for players to choose a certain casino above another and should offer players the chance to test the casino and its games.
Often, the online casino will offer a welcome bonus that is either a deposit match bonus up to a certain amount, a no deposit bonus, or both. No deposit bonuses are a bonus that is given freely to the players upon registration. These can be free spins or a cash bonus but do note they often come with heavy restrictions and wagering requirements.
The majority of the time, the better bonus will be the first deposit bonus, where players can receive a match bonus. The best first deposit bonuses offer a 100% to 500% bonus up to thousands of dollars, generally over the first three to five deposits.
Wagering requirements for these bonuses can range between 1x and 50x, sometimes being higher, so be sure to read the terms and conditions beforehand.
The best online casinos will offer a welcome bonus and offer other bonuses for players to claim. This includes daily, weekly and monthly bonuses and special promotions, like when a new game is being promoted with free spins or high-roller bonuses. There should be a cashback program available, as well as a VIP/loyalty program for long-standing players to take advantage of.
With the US gambling laws restricting online gambling, players need to ensure which payment methods are available. Many well-known card providers and banks don’t accept any transactions made between a player and an online casino. As such, cards are often not available to players in Arkansas.
A good payment method the best online casinos offer is PayPal. PayPal is an easy way to bypass card restrictions and is also a fast and easy payment method. VIP Preferred e-cheque is also often an option, along with the online casino’s Play+ card. Players can make payments using online banking (ACH) or PayNearMe. The most common withdrawal methods are online banking, PayPal, or cheque by mail.
While other payment methods are often available, such as Skrill, Neteller, and Bitcoin. However, these methods are not always as prevalent. If offered, it generally comes with higher fees for US players.
If the online casino has a mobile app available on the App Store or Google Play store, there’s also the chance of Apple Pay or Google Plus being used for payments. This is especially relevant in the case of social casinos and the purchase of tokens.
Arkansas Online Casinos
While real money gambling isn’t legalized, there are still plenty of options for players in Arkansas looking for the best online casinos, whether off-shore licensed casinos or social casinos. While there are several top-rated online casinos, they are not all equally good for all players.
Different players can look for different things in an online casino. When playing in Arkansas, it’s important to decide whether you’ll play with real money or at a social casino. Arkansas players need to research the online casinos to find the best online casino for them.