Local Laws

Legalization of Sports Betting in Arizona


After an extensive legislative process, Arizona sports betting is a reality. There were numerous doubts in the gambling industry that sports wagering would be legalized in AZ in recent years. 

People thought if sports betting were going to be enacted, it would only take place in a retail format because of disagreements between the tribal nations and the legislature. There are 16 tribal nations in AZ who operate 24 Class III gaming facilities. 

The tribal nations were hesitant about mobile sports gambling because they did not believe that they would equally benefit. Nevertheless, mobile sports betting was included in the legislation, and AZ will have a significant gambling market.

The Legalization

On Monday night, legal sports betting was no longer a figment of the imagination in Arizona. The AZ Senate passed SB 1797, which legalized event betting and Daily Fantasy Sports. A 23-6-1 vote passed the bill after it was given to the entire chamber by the Senate Committee on Rules. 

The committee approved the bill during a day of deliberations, and the Senate finished the job later in the day. There is still one more thing that’s necessary for the bill to be official. 

Governor Ducey must ink his name to bring sports betting to Arizona. This is expected because Ducey has been one of the largest supporters of the form of gambling. He wanted to bring sports betting to the state in any possible form.

He was a proponent of mobile betting, but he was willing to bend to the tribal nations for any form of athletic wagering. The governor has been outspoken about legal sports betting for months. He advocated for enhancing Arizona’s prosperous gaming economy because of the neighboring states enacting sports wagering. 

In Ducey’s State of the State Address from February, he said sports wagering is “an opportunity for a modernized gaming compact that will bring in more revenue for our tribal nations and our state budget.”

Arizona Surprised the Betting Market

People did not expect Arizona to reach a deal for sports betting because of the previous gridlock between the tribal nations and the state legislature. Experts projected that sports betting would enter the state in the next couple of years, but very few said legalization would occur in 2021. 

Arizona is the fourth state in 2021 to pass a sports betting bill. The AZ legislature joins South Dakota, Wyoming, and Maryland as the latest states to permit sports wagering. 

Arizona is expected to have the largest market out of these four states because people in the state will be able to game on their mobile devices and at retail casinos. New York looks like it will follow Arizona as the fifth state to legalize the form of gambling. 

The Details of SB 1797

The primary sponsor of SB 1797 is T.J. Shope. He was joined by fellow Senator Sonny Borelli and Representative Jeff Weninger in proposing the bill to the Senate. Shope announced that he thought the bill would pass in the days leading up to the vote, and he was correct.

The bill will allow online and retail sports betting at various facilities, including tribal casinos and professional sports venues. It also permits Keno games at off-track betting facilities and halls like the Elks Club and American Legion. 

The goal is for sports betting to be a reality by the NFL season. If this does not come to fruition, the state wants to establish some form of gambling by the end of September. 

It appears that DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM will be three books coming to the state. However, they will need to go through the application process once Governor Ducey signs the bill.

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