Legal sports betting in Arizona has finally been legalized in 2021. That’s because, unlike past years, this time the state’s tribes were on board.
AZ Governor Doug Ducey signed HB 2772 after previously voicing his support for regulated sportsbooks in the Grand Canyon State. The bill gives tribal casinos and professional sports stadiums the option to accept sports bets along with partnering with online sportsbooks to offer state-wide mobile sports betting.
There are still regulatory hurdles to clear both those should be taken care of by the time the 2021 NFL season begins. Some sportsbooks have already made deals with tribes and sports venues to launch as soon as they’re given the green light.
With a mature market, Arizona could be home to one of the most robust sports betting markets in the country.
Where Can You Bet On Sports In Arizona
Lawmakers decided to allow for professional sports stadiums and tribal casinos to host sportsbooks.
There are seven professional sports venues in the state (primarily located in or near Phoenix) and 24 tribal casinos located all across the state. In a fully mature market, this would put the total number of land-based sportsbooks in Arizona to 31.
However, different tribes have different views on sports betting so there is a chance that some will opt-out.
DraftKings has extended their partnership to launch a sportsbook at TPC Scottsdale, making them possibly one of the first to launch a retail sportsbook in AZ.
Arizona Sports Betting Sites And Apps
There are currently no Arizona sports betting apps available for use. But, lawmakers legalized statewide mobile sports betting apps in 2021.
Professional sports venues and tribes with sports betting licenses will each get a chance to partner with one online sportsbook.
The Quechan Tribe of Arizona has already taken steps to partner with Kindred Group in the event that sports betting is legalized. This would mean Unibet would be among the first to launch in the state.
Other major brands would be expected to join the market including FanDuel, William Hill, and PointsBet among others.
Arizona Sports Betting FAQs
Can I Bet On The Arizona Wildcats or Arizona State Sun Devils?
Yes, betting on the Arizona Wildcats or Arizona State Sun Devils is legal when using state-regulated sportsbooks. Those sportsbooks should launch by September 2021.
What Is The Legal Age To Bet On Sports In Arizona?
The legal age to bet on sports in Arizona is set at 21 years old or older.
When Will Arizona Legalize Sports Betting?
Arizona sports betting was officially legalized on April 15, 2021.
How Much Will Arizona Sports Betting Be Worth?
Proponents of the industry estimating that a mature AZ sports betting market could bring in $42 million annually.
Arizona Sports Betting Timeline
Arizona sports betting has been in the works for years now, dating back to the first legislative session after the repeal of PASPA.
The one obstacle that has stood in the way of legalization has been tribal opposition. Given how much leverage the tribes hold in the state’s gambling market, it makes it almost impossible to pass any gambling expansion bills without their blessing.
But, after three years, that blessing may finally come.
2019 – A new Betting Bill is Introduced
The year began with Senator Sonny Borrelli introducing SB 1158 in the state Senate in January.
The bill began with support among most of the tribes as it would give them exclusive access to operate sports betting in AZ. However, as amendments were made to the bill, the addition of off-reservation sports betting kiosks rubbed some tribes the wrong way.
Smaller tribes wanted to keep sports betting in their on-reservation casinos as a way to keep money within their communities.
The bill didn’t gain any traction within the Senate, leaving legislators empty-handed that year.
2020 – COVID-19 Halts Legislative Sessions
The year began with SB 1525 aiming to give the tribes control over sports betting. However, it also opened the door for sports betting kiosks to operate outside of tribal reservations. It too failed to make any progress in the state legislature.
The bill that did manage to make it on the House floor in March of that year was AZ HB 2813.
The bill had the same issue of allowing horse racing tracks outside of tribal lands to operate sports betting. However, before it could be amended any further, COVID-19 suspended the legislative session. When lawmakers returned, sports betting was last on their agenda and the bill failed to receive any votes.
2021 – Betting Gets Gov Ducey’s support
The year began with Governor Ducey publicly stating his support for legal sports betting in Arizona.
They were practically identical in that they would only allow for sportsbooks at tribal casinos and at professional sports stadiums. They would also allow for statewide mobile sports betting sites through partnerships with the tribal casinos.
However, one significant difference came in the Senate. Instead of moving a stand-alone sports betting bill to the Senate floor, the issue was instead tacked onto a bill that would legalize Historical Horse Racing (HHR) machines.
Tribes have been opposed to HHR machines in the past as they argue that they resemble slot machines which would violate the current compact they have with the state government.
HB 2772 was able to clear its legislative chamber, pass the Senate, and sent to Governor Doug Ducey who happily signed it into law on April 15, 2021.
There are still more regulatory measures that have to be taken before sportsbooks can launch. But, officials are looking to launch the market by early fall.