Arizona lawmakers continue to try and legalize sports betting, but it has been a long and difficult process up to this point. Things appear to be heading in the right direction, but it will now be up to the Arizona Senate to take the next step.
House Bill 2772 has been drawing plenty of discussion and debate over the past few weeks, but an official vote was taken on Thursday. The House approved HB 2772 by a vote of 48-12, and it will now be sent to the Senate for further discussion.
The House Rules Committee approved HB 2772 in February by a 9-1 vote, and this piece of legislation has gained bi-partisan support. There will likely be some opposition in the Senate, but lawmakers believe that there is enough support to get this bill to Governor Doug Ducey’s desk.
Even if this piece of legislation is passed through both the House and Senate, there is still some work to be done. All sports betting is tied to new gaming compacts between Ducey and Native American tribes, and those discussions are progressing.
Native American tribes will be able to offer sports betting at their casinos, but it’s unclear what else is included in these new compacts. The tax rate on potential sports betting revenue will be one of the biggest factors in reaching an agreement.
Bill HB 2772 would legalize online sports betting and daily fantasy sports in Arizona. Both of these forms of gambling would provide new revenue to a state in need of a boost.
Professional sports teams in the state of Arizona have backed this bill from the House, and some of the top sportsbooks have done so as well. Additional forms of gambling are included in the proposal, but sports betting is the most important part of the bill.
Senate Still Working on Bill
The Arizona Senate has also been working on sports betting bill as well, but it has not made as much progress. Senate Bill 1794 went through a number of amendments in February, but no action has been taken in the month of March.
This bill focused on historic horse racing and wanted to include more groups into sports betting. This has brought opposition from Native American tribes as they believe that it will cut into their potential revenue.
Historic horse racing machines are similar to slot machines, and Native American tribes are the only group authorized to offer this form of gambling. Governor Ducey wants more gaming options in the state, but he can’t afford to anger the tribal groups.
If sports betting is going to come to the state of Arizona, then Ducey and the Native American tribes need to remain on the same page. Some tribes have threatened to stop the current gaming compact negotiations with the state based on the introduction of SB 1794.
The Arizona Senate will likely continue to explore sports betting pieces of legislation, but their current attempt will need to be modified.