Arizona Forges Ahead with Proposals to Expand Sports Betting

Arizona Forges Ahead with Proposals to Expand Sports Betting
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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is all in on expanding wagering within his state and he is hoping that the Republican-controlled Legislature throws in some chips as well.

From professional to college sports wagering to daily fantasy sports leagues and even Keno, Ducey’s multi-faceted proposal could even produce more tribal casinos (which currently have the exclusive right to most gaming options in the state) with more games and wagering being offered in Arizona, according to published reports.

In his State of the State address last month, Ducey announced “an opportunity for a modernized gaming compact that will bring in more revenue for our tribal nations and our state budget,” according to the Associated Press. He reportedly has negotiated a new deal with tribes, hoping it can boost state revenue by allowing gambling outside of tribal-run casinos.

Currently, tribes within the state have been able to run their own casinos for giving the state a share of its profits.

Nevada, which borders Arizona to the northwest, Is one of the biggest legal sports betting states in the country. In December, Nevada had $588.5 million in total sports handle, only behind New Jersey, and for 2020, Nevada saw about $4.3 billion in total sports handle.

Arizona House & Senate Bills

State House Bill 2772 was introduced this week by Rep. Jeff Weninger (R-Chandler) and it would allow wagers to be placed online, daily fantasy sports wagering and add limited Keno games at off-track betting locations and social clubs like the American Legion, Elks Club, etc. It was scheduled for a second reading Thursday.

A similar Senate bill would permit most tribes to take bets on professional and amateur sporting events at the casinos they operate.

The House bill would allow Arizona professional sports teams (NFL Cardinals, NHL Coyotes, NBA Suns and MLB Diamondbacks) to run sports betting operations at their respective venues, at a retail location within a quarter mile of the venues and online, AP reported. Ten licenses would be awarded to sports entities, which could include professional golf and even NASCAR.

Tribes also would get 10 licenses and could run sports books at 24 tribal casinos in the state. Under this plan, the tribes would get the right to build some new casinos on top of their existing deal they have with the state, including new gaming offerings.

For online gambling, sportsbook operators can partner on licenses that are given out.

Legislation Needs to be Adopted, Compact Extended

In order for all of this to happen, legislation and a 20-year extension of the state’s gaming compact with tribes must be adopted for either to go into effect.

If all goes through, the state gets a cut of the gaming revenue, which will then go to the general fund, AP reported. Tribal gaming money would go to special state accounts and local governments.

According to an Arizona Department of Gaming Report in September 2020, the AP said, tribes brought in nearly $2 billion in gambling revenue and the state received $102 million, while cities received $13 million.