Casinos in Arkansas

Gambling chips stacked around roulette wheel on gaming table
Michael Blann Getty

There are two Arkansas casinos that serve players, one on either side of the state, east to west, with Little Rock sitting square in middle of the state. If you can find US Interstate 40, which runs through Little Rock, you can find either casino that offers slots and table games.

Southland Park

Southland Park is located at 1550 North Ingram Blvd. (870 735-3670) in West Memphis Arkansas. The original facility was built in the late 1950's but was given an $11 million upgrade in 2012 after a surge of visitors provided a similar surge in income after the Mississippi River Flood the year before shut down gaming in Tunica.

Southland Park is situated along Interstate 40 and is a short drive from Memphis, Tennessee. In addition, the now open casinos of Tunica are less than 25 minutes away in Mississippi. The casinos of Biloxi, along the coast, are more than 350 miles away.

The gaming facility does not have its own hotel, but there are plenty of choices nearby. For dog-race enthusiasts, the track runs five days a week, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday with afternoon and evening racing. In addition to the live greyhound racing, the track has simulcast racing of tracks all over the country. Indoor seating is available for $3 to $5 with a view of the track and tables with their own race monitors.

Free table seating and theatre-style seating is also for all live greyhound racing. Self-service betting machines are available in all areas. There are smoking and non-smoking sections to choose from.

Dining choices include Bourbon Street Steakhouse and Grill, two snack bars, the Kennel Club with American fare, and World Market Buffet.

The casino features 631 machines. Although you are likely to find your favorite slot and video games, you won't finds the typical "live" table games. Although the facility has 26 table games, they are electronic versions. There are 10 poker tables, each with its own main video screen and a screen for each play to view their chip balance and their own cards.

In addition, Texas Hold'em Tournaments are available at Southland Park.

There are sixteen other table games, 8 blackjack, and craps, roulette, Let it Ride, and 3-Card Poker. The casino is open 24 hours a day and includes a player rewards club.

Oaklawn Park

Oaklawn Park is located at 2705 Central Ave. (501 623-4411) in Hot Springs, Arkansas. It is one hour from Little Rock via I-30W and US-70W. Oaklawn is one of oldest and most revered racehorse tracks in the country and opened in 1905. Nearby casinos in Oklahoma are slightly less than 100 miles away.

Hot Springs is best known for the natural hot springs that give it its name, and Hot Springs National Park. However, to most of the US, Hot Springs was a gambling mecca rivaled only by Las Vegas. After the Civil War, the town adopted an open gaming stance that allowed dozens of casinos to prosper. In the 1920's and 1930's, Reno and Chicago casino owners like Bill Graham and Al Capone owned a piece of the action.

Although the state of Arkansas had an anti-gambling law, it wasn't enforced in Hot Springs until 1967 when Governor Winthrop Rockefeller dispatched a company of state troopers to close the Arkansas casinos and burn their gaming equipment.

Oaklawn Park and Southland Park have remained as the state's only legal gaming facilities since that time.

The gaming facility does not have its own hotel, but there are plenty nearby. There is a $2 entrance fee for live horse racing at Oaklawn, but no fee for the simulcast of live horse racing and live greyhound racing. The casino is open at 10 am each day until 3 am Sunday through Thursday, 5 am Friday and Saturday. During racing season there are ten restaurants and snack bars to choose from.

The casino has 650 machines. Like Southland Park, all table games are also electronic with dealers who handle the chips. The poker room has just two tables in the casino but does feature tournament play. There are also six blackjack tables. Slots offered are the standard variety along with video poker.

A player's reward club for cashback and comps is available.