The state of Arizona was looking to become the latest to legalize sports betting, but it now appears that the issue will have to wait until at least 2021. This is the second year in a row that lawmakers have tried to get sports betting legislation passed, but the bill has struck out both times.
Two bills were still up for consideration as the legislature got together for their second session, but lawmakers have reported that no discussion will be taking place. The Senate and House of Representatives both had a bill on the table, and the bills were each a little bit different.
The bill that was proposed in the House covered both commercial and tribal casinos throughout the state. Tribes would have to seek permission from the state to offer sports betting, and they would then be forced to follow all of the current state gaming regulations.
The Senate bill would not have given sports betting licenses to the commercial casinos but would have allowed all 24 of the tribal casinos to offer sports betting. Neither the House or Senate bill would have called for mobile or online sports betting.
A group of lawmakers proposed a similar bill in 2019, but that bill never really got off the ground. Lawmakers came into 2020 with a solid plan in place, but sports betting still is not in the cards for Arizona.
Every Gets A Chance
Representative Steve Pierce was the sponsor of both of the bills, and his belief was that both commercial and tribal casinos should get a crack at the industry. Pierce gained plenty of support from his fellow lawmakers during the process, but not enough for either house to take an official vote.
House Bill 2813 and Senate Bill 1525 were both on the table as lawmakers resumed closed-door meetings last week, but Pierce has since reported that neither bill will be advancing. Pierce was hoping that the impacts of the coronavirus on the economy would help push the bill forward, but not enough lawmakers were on his side.
Even though Pierce was the sponsor of both of those bills, he favors the bill that would allow both commercial and tribal casinos to get in on the action. Pierce was quick to point out that the tribes already have gaming rights in the state, and that other businesses should be given a chance to profit from the industry.
The discussion of sports betting will now be pushed to 2021, and it does appear likely that Arizona lawmakers will eventually vote to legalize the industry. Other states in the western part of the state are starting to move to legalize sports betting, and Arizona will be looking to keep up.
New Mexico is in a similar position to Arizona, as tribal casinos believe that they are allowed to offer sports betting due to their compacts. New Mexico is another state working towards legalization in hopes of breaking into the industry in the coming years.