Arizona is quite an interesting place when it comes to gambling laws. While in some ways it’s subject to the fairly strict laws regarding gambling both on and offline, a number of Native American tribes means that players have more opportunities than some other in terms of gaming.
There are 20 Native American-run casinos here, which means that physical casino gaming, poker and slots are all within easy reach, and players are spoiled for choice. Betting on horses and dogs is also legal, as is charity gambling and the Arizona lottery.
When it comes to online gambling, you probably won't be surprised to hear that things are somewhat murky. Technically, online gambling in any form is considered illegal under state law and there is little ongoing discussion (or even noteworthy interest) to change that in the state of Arizona.
However, the many Native American-run casinos do hold some potentially interesting prospects for online gaming in the state. Tribal efforts could encourage lawmakers to act, and a bill was introduced in 2019 to allow sports betting in the state, albeit exclusively via terrestrial kiosks. A move by Native American groups in neighboring New Mexico could also encourage lawmakers to open up sports betting, but it remains to be seen if or when the state will take its first bet.
As we can see, while state laws remain essentially unchanged since the early 1900s, the tribal laws mean Arizona is currently one of the best states in the U.S. for physical gaming and casinos. As for online gambling, things are more complicated.
Given that online gaming is not mentioned explicitly in any laws, some states choose to be content to leave online gambling in a gray area. This is not the case in Arizona. Online casinos in Arizona are not supported at all, and considered illegal as with any other form of gambling. Currently there is no way around this.
The same is true for online poker in Arizona. Given the state's long history and tradition opposing gambling, it's unlikely to change soon. Poker can be played in person for fun, so home games are perfectly acceptable but online poker sites that run tournaments and allow stakes are still strictly illegal. Again, this is not likely to change in the near future. However, Native American casinos may be able to offer a solution if permitted by the state legislature to do so. That still seems unlikely anytime soon.
Sports betting in Arizona is illegal at the casinos as it is online, so there are no state-approved sports betting sites available at all in Arizona. The only way this could change is if the Native American casinos were granted permission to host online services, which like other forms of internet-based gambling, is not likely to happen in the immediate future.But, as mentioned above, things have taken a major step forward in 2019. A bill introduced in Phoenix could allow Native American tribes to open up kiosks at bars outside their respective reservations to take bets on sporting events. The bill likely faces opposition in the statehouse, but nevertheless is a positive step forward for the state's sports betting.