New AZ Bill Sets to Unify Regulators Into Single Gaming Commission

Written By Play AZ Editorial Team on March 28, 2022
gaming commission

The Arizona gambling market took another step toward a unified gaming commission last week.

In a vote of 8-0, the state’s House Rules Committee advanced House Bill 2509 to the next level. If passed, the new bill will bring the three separate commissions under one entity. The effective date of the new law would be June 30, 2023.

Here are the details for the new Arizona state gaming commission proposal heading to another hearing this week.

The current state of gaming regulation in Arizona

Three separate bodies govern gaming activities in Arizona. The Arizona Racing Commission, Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts Commission, and the Department of Gaming are the current regulators.

Republican Leo Biasiucci introduced HB 2509, which calls for combining these bodies into a single commission.

The Arizona bill seeks to bring similar gaming regulatory bodies under one roof. The House Rules Committee gave the green light with a unanimous vote to move forward to a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing.

How the new gaming commission will be chosen

The new gaming commission will have a six-member leadership panel. The Governor of Arizona will appoint four of the members.

The appointed director will have at least five years of experience in business or public administration. Two others will need similar experience in accounting and law enforcement.

The Governor will also choose a public member as the fourth appointee. Then, the House Speaker and Senate President will each appoint one member to round out the six.

Anyone with a direct or indirect interest in gaming will not qualify as an appointee or employee of the commission. Also, officers of political parties and elected officials get disqualified.

Appointed members will serve four-year terms, which will stagger with each position. The Governor retains authority to remove a member with cause. Members can also get removed by a majority vote from other commission members without cause.

The mandate of the new gaming commission

The revised commission will have an office in Phoenix and possibly another in Tucson. The entity will control all regulations previously held by the three separate commissions.

Rules for operating tribal gambling establishments also apply under the legislation.

Arizona legalized sports betting in Sept. 2021. Then, it allowed up to 20 sports betting license applications. Ten licenses opened up to professional sports teams in the state. The other ten licenses were for tribes recognized by the federal government, but there are more tribes than available licenses.

The commission will take responsibility for creating a fair distribution of licensing. With a mandate to promote successful growth in gaming, the body will have several factors to regulate.

Locations and practices of gaming establishments will become part of the regulatory body, along with the manufacturing and sale of gambling devices.

What comes next for Arizona gaming?

Arizona’s new gaming commission also needs to address the prominence of cryptocurrency in gaming. Online sports betting is drawing more acceptance from bettors using currencies like Bitcoin.

The challenge for this gaming commission to regulate across all gaming platforms is considerable. Members will have to weigh reactive policies to industry developments against predictive measures. They’ll also be responsible for promoting responsible gaming in the state.

Only time will tell if a single body is a solution to the rapidly evolving gaming industry.

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