Arizona lawmakers moved companion bills, Senate Bill 1797 and House Bill 2772 through their respective chambers, and approved the House version on a 23-6 vote with one member not voting. The bill now moves to the office of Gov. Doug Ducey, who is expected to sign the bill into a law, legalizing sports and fantasy betting, as well as a keno game which will be run by the state lottery.
As Many as 20 Sports Betting Operators
Arizona’s sports betting bill allows as many as 20 sports betting operators, with the state’s Native American tribes getting 10 and its professional sports organization getting the other 10. All of them can offer online sports betting. Betting on college sports is allowed, except proposition bets. Sports betting operators will be taxed at 8% on all revenue after deducting payouts to bettors.
Under the bill, the Arizona Department of Gaming can license fantasy sports operators, who will be allowed to take online bets. With fantasy sports, gamblers can select virtual teams made up of actual players in recognized sports and place bets on them.
The Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Coyotes, Phoenix Suns, TPC Scottsdale of the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, and Phoenix Raceway which houses annual NASCAR and Indycar events will be permitted to partner with an online operator. Each team could also open a retail sportsbook at their venue or at a nearby property.
Amendments to Gaming Compacts With Tribes
With the passing of the bill, Gov. Ducey is also expected to sign amendments to the gaming compacts with the state’s Native American tribes. Currently, these tribal gaming properties only offer card games such as poker and blackjack. The amendment will allow them to expand offering to include new games such as baccarat, craps, and roulette.
These amendments and the Governor’s decision to allow them to expand to an unspecified number of new casinos in Metro Phoenix helped win their support for the sports betting bill, causing them to lobby on its behalf throughout the legislative process.
Assuming thar Gov. Ducey signs the bill this week, lawmakers expect legal Arizona sports betting to commence before the start of the 2021 NFL season. The Arizona Department of Gaming still has to approve the rules and hand out licenses, which has taken between three to 18 months in other states.