Sports Betting Proposal Advances in Arizona House Panel

Arizona State Flag and an Arizona Casino
An Arizona House panel advanced a proposal that would permit legal betting on professional and collegiate sports at tribal casinos and venues owned by professional sports teams after hearing from the tribes and teams that back the deal that Gov Doug Ducey made with the tribes.

The proposal, authored by Rep. Jeff Weninger, would allow professional sports teams and tribes with existing casinos to conduct legal Arizona sports betting operations. It would also allow fantasy sports betting from online operators, new sports betting at horse racing tracks and selling of Keno tickets by groups like the VFW.

8% of the non-tribal legal Arizona sports betting profits will go to the state’s general fund while taxes from a maximum of 8% on tribal gaming revenues will go to the local governments and special state accounts. It is estimated that legal Arizona sports betting could bring in as much as $42M per year in additional state revenue.

Backed by Arizona Pro Sports Teams

Representatives for Arizona’s professional sports teams are backing the measure. Under Weninger’s proposal, teams like the Arizona Diamondbacks would be allowed to have sportsbooks inside and near their venues. Weninger’s initiative is also backed up by the major tribes in Arizona as it would allow them to add more table games while also operate sports betting facilities.

According to Arizona Diamondbacks representative Amilyn Pierce, teams in areas with legal sports betting bring in extra revenues that hurt the competitiveness of Arizona’s pro sports teams. Pierce said without legal Arizona sports betting, the state’s sports teams are at a disadvantage in a competitive market.

Small Businesses Are Being Left Out

Associations representing bars aren’t too thrilled with the proposal. Arizona’s bars, which were hit very hard by the pandemic, are complaining that they are being left out new opportunities, including new Keno games and fantasy sports betting. They argue that big operators will get more revenues from legal Arizona sports betting while bars are either closed or operating at limited capacity.

Democratic Rep. Diego Espinoza and eight other house members agree. Although the group voted for Weninger’s bill, they said that they want to see the bars and restaurants included in the measure, and that they may not back the bill in the full House if these small business are omitted.

The All-new We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort in Arizona Now Open

Arizona State Flag With a Casino Background
The all-new We-Ko-Pa Casino opened its doors last Wednesday, October 29th, ushering a new age of gaming and entertainment in the Northeast Valley and raising the bar for Valley gaming properties.It replaces the former Fort McDowell Casino which holds a special place in the fight for Indian gaming rights not only in the state but in the entire country.

Said Bernadine Burnette, president of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation:

“We’re proud that we were Arizona’s first casino and are now the state’s newest casino. Gaming has been a part of our tribal community for the past three decades and has allowed us to provide financial security for our members and employees. Our new casino allows us to take gaming to an entirely new level while keeping a Native American look and feel – with design elements of earth, water, fire and basket-weaving that are so important to our culture.”

The Former Baja Bingo Hall

The Fort McDowell Casino opened as the Baja Bingo Hall in 1984 as the first tribal gaming operation in Arizona. Owned and operated by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, the Baja Bingo has undergone a lot of changes and challenges.

Eight years after its launch, an attempt by Federal agents to seize its slots machines halted the Fort McDowell Casino operations. But the stoppage was only temporary as the Yavapai Nation peacefully challenged the state for its right to operate the casino on their reservation under the federal law. The Arizona casino reopened and grew its business with more casinos and gaming tables.

The All-New We-Ko-Pa Casino

The We-Ko-Pa Casino has 850 slot machines, 22 black jack tables, a five-table poker room, and a 400-seat smoke-free bino hall. In addition to a full complement of gaming amenities, the We-Ko-Pa Casino also has a wide variety of dining establishments, event venues, and other features that will ensure the enjoyment, comfort, and safety of casino patrons or guests who stay at the adjoining hotel.

The Ember restaurant is an upscale dining venue where steaks and seafood are prepared over wood-fired grills.The Market provides 24-hour quick serving food options while the Ahnala Mesquite Room at the adjoining hotel serves American-style comfort foods. The WKP bar serves pub fare and craft beer.

The Arizona casino is connected to a four-storey covered parking structure and the 246-room hotel that has been the recipient of the prestigious AAA Four Diamond award every year since its opening in 2006. The Arizona casino also shares the same name of the We-ko-pa golf Club across the street which hosts the award-winning Saguaro and Cholla golf courses.