Arkansas state law may be many things in this regard, but ambiguous is certainly not one of them.
The first interesting aspect of the law in Arkansas is that a person may institute an action within ninety days of losing money by way of any unauthorized form of gambling to recover any monies or property so lost as a result. While this could theoretically lead to recovery of any monies lost due to online gambling, the law makes it very clear that such action does not relieve the individual engaged in the gambling of violation of any anti-gambling laws that may be present in the state.
Furthermore, once again, the State of Arkansas is unlikely to have any real authority to actually effectuate payment from an online gambling provider to an affected player even in the event that such a player sued successfully. Once again, most online gambling operations in question (if not all of them) are operated out of countries outside of the United States, much less within the State of Arkansas, specifically.
Under 5-66-104, it is unlawful for any person to keep a gambling device of any kind, whether or not said device is specifically referenced in the statute. However, this law applies only to operators of gambling devices as opposed to mere players.
With respect to gambling on such unlawful devices as a mere bettor, that is covered under 5-66-106 of the Arkansas code, and upon conviction, would result in a fine ranging from $50-$100. 5-66-106 would seem to be the only thing in the unlawful gambling codes of the State of Arkansas that pertains in any way to mere bettors, and it is not clear (though the rest of the law is unambiguous) whether or not online gambling would fall under that purview.
However, all of those arrests were of operators and no arrests of mere participants (i.e. bettors) actually took place.
It should come as no surprise that, in all of my research, I was unable to uncover any arrests or fines associated with mere bettors engaged in the act of unlawful gambling, and it is difficult to tell whether or not same could even constitute a crime (in terms of online gambling) if one is not acting as an operator. There simply have been no cases that have pertained to that.
In conclusion, there is no question that online casinos cannot be based in the State of Arkansas as that would constitute keeping an illegal gambling house. It is also clear that Arkansas police departments are willing and eager to arrest illegal operators of any gambling activities or houses that are deemed unlawful by the state. Furthermore, it is clear that bettors could be subject to fines for gambling in such illegal houses, but once again, that would be betting in such physical houses that are actually located within the state. It is ambiguous whether or not betting online, provided the betting took place at an entity that is based outside of the state, would even be a crime.
Even in the unlikely event that making such wagers were to constitute a crime, there is no evidence that anyone has ever been charged for it, and even if someone were to eventually be so charged, the fines are minimal.
There is no question that it is illegal to operate an online casino within the state for profit, but it is doubtful that there are any laws that would affect mere players in an adverse way. In fact, the clearest law on the books would be one that actually helps players in the sense that they could theoretically recover losses that were incurred by way of unlawful gambling.
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