The Grand Canyon State got a little grander in April 2021. Days after it landed on his desk, Gov. Doug Ducey signed off on HB 2772 to legalize sports betting in Arizona.
Ducey also signed an updated tribal compact in what he described as a “historic bipartisan achievement.” The legislation also legalized daily fantasy sports in the state.
Professional teams and venues will be eligible to obtain licensing for retail sports betting, as will Arizona’s gaming tribes. On top of that, Arizona will also feature online sports betting.
With details of the industry still to be drafted, including regulations and tax rate, the hope is that Arizona sports betting will go live by fall 2021.
Before the state can launch its newly legal sports betting industry, the Arizona Department of Gaming needs to hash out a regulatory framework, including nailing down rules and a tax rate. Now that the updated tribal compact has federal approval, that process is underway.
While plenty of work still remains before AZ sports betting goes live, regulators have circled Sept. 9, the first day of the NFL regular season, as a target launch date.
Updated: June 15, 2021
They came a day late, but the first sports betting rules have been released by the Arizona Department of Gaming.
Nearly 24 hours after the department tweeted it was still working on draft rules, the regulatory body released its work along with feedback forms and scheduled hearings. After all, the release of the rules also signals the start of the public comment period, which is scheduled to conclude June 21.
Seemingly the most interesting parts of the rules are what’s NOT included. Yes, the ADG notes its requirements for testing, geofencing and monitoring, among other aspects. The department even indicates that licensees can submit requests to use “non-official league data” as well as a list of events they would like to offer betting markets on.
However, the ADG did not include licensing fees, nor did it indicate what the tax rate would be for monthly revenue. Hopefully, the ADG can hash out those details over the next week. After that, the department will make amendments as needed and move forward from there.
Regulators remain optimistic that Arizona sports betting will go live Sept. 9.
The Dept. of Gaming has posted the first Arizona sports betting draft regulations and some important items are still open.
The NFL’s opening day on Sept. 9 is the target for sports betting to go live in Arizona.
The US Dept. of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs approved the new Arizona gaming compacts. What happens now?
First and foremost, when sports betting in Arizona does launch, it will incorporate tribal operators and commercial sportsbooks.
The state’s gambling industry features 24 casinos operated by 16 federally recognized Indian tribes. And as it’s been emphasized, any bill to legalize sports betting (such as the one that ultimately passed) would ride on the support of the state’s tribes.
While some states have legalized retail-only sports betting and others have enacted online-only wagering, Arizona will combine the two verticals. Complementing an array of online sportsbooks will be a variety of brick-and-mortar options spread throughout the state.
The bill does allow for sports betting on all professional and college sports. The only ban noted is a prohibition on individual prop bets involving college athletes.
The bill permits up to 10 mobile and retail licenses for the tribes and another 10 licenses for professional teams and select venues.
So, teams like the Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Coyotes, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Phoenix Suns are eligible to receive a sports betting license.
In addition, the likes of TPC Scottsdale (which hosts the ever-popular Waste Management Phoenix Open on the PGA Tour) and the Phoenix Raceway (a destination for NASCAR) could apply for licensing. They appear to be on the way to doing so after partnering with DraftKings Sportsbook.
With online sports betting also permitted, bettors in Arizona can download their favorite legal sportsbook apps and place wagers via their phone from anywhere in the state.
Any operator that wishes to accept legal bets in Arizona must complete various regulatory steps before opening.
From applying for licensure to undergo background checks to testing of tech, each sports betting provider goes under the microscope before the state approves licensing.
As such, any sportsbook legally operating in Arizona, including online sportsbooks and mobile betting apps, will feature a regulatory seal on the page.
Arizonans may find websites currently accepting bets from within the state. These sites, known as offshore sportsbooks, operate illegally in Arizona. They do not hold a license to conduct business in the state and offer few consumer protections. All the risk lies with the consumer.
For example, offshore sportsbooks have been known to not pay out winnings. Sometimes you may open your betting account with these operators and notice your winnings have disappeared. Unfortunately, there’s no legal recourse to regain that money.
Any platform indicating it accepts bets from anywhere in the US actually operates illegally. No sportsbook is licensed at the federal level.
During the legislative process, legal sportsbooks such as BetMGM, DraftKings Sportsbook, and FanDuel Sportsbook showed ample support of legalizing sports betting in Arizona. So it’s not too big of a leap to expect all three to open up shop in the state.
In fact, the week of Ducey signing the bill, DraftKings partnered with TPC Scottsdale to gain market access in Arizona. The following day, FanDuel partnered with the Phoenix Suns. Not to be outdone, Caesars entered into an agreement with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
|Team/Venue||Sports Betting Partner|
|Arizona Diamondbacks||Caesars Entertainment|
|Phoenix Suns||FanDuel Sportsbook|
|TPC Scottsdale||DraftKings Sportsbook|
As for other possibilities, emerging sportsbooks such as PointsBet and Barstool Sportsbook would also certainly give the state a look.
There are also more than two dozen casinos in Arizona, all of which are tribal-operated and eligible to offer retail and mobile sports betting in the state.
|Casino||Sports Betting Partner|
|Apache Gold Casino Resort||TBA|
|Apache Sky Casino||TBA|
|Blue Water Resort & Casino||TBA|
|Bucky's Casino Prescott||TBA|
|Casino Arizona Scottsdale||TBA|
|Casino Del Sol||TBA|
|Casino of the Sun||TBA|
|Cliff Castle Casino Hotel||TBA|
|Cocopah Resort Casino||TBA|
|Desert Diamond Casino Tucson||TBA|
|Desert Diamond Sahuarita Casino and Resort||TBA|
|Desert Diamond Casino West Valley||TBA|
|Desert Diamond Casino Why||TBA|
|Harrah's Ak-Chin Casino||TBA|
|Hon-Dah Resort Casino||TBA|
|Lone Butte Casino||TBA|
|Mazatzal Casino Payson||TBA|
|Paradise Casino Yuma||TBA|
|Spirit Mountain Casino||TBA|
|Talking Stick Resort||TBA|
|Twin Arrows Casino||TBA|
|Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino||TBA|
|We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort||TBA|
|Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino||TBA|
The legalization of sports betting is not a new subject in Arizona.
In 2019, Sen. Sonny Borrelli and Rep. Steve Pierce proposed legislation to green-light regulated wagering.
The House bill called for the legalization of sports betting at tribal casinos, racetracks, and “additional wagering facilities.” Tribes, though, did not support such a measure.
Meanwhile, the Senate proposal gave tribal casinos exclusivity, limiting sports betting to those properties while authorizing tribes to set up self-service kiosks at bars throughout the state. Like the House version, this Senate bill did not call for mobile wagering. And like the House bill, the Senate proposal gained no momentum and petered out.
In 2020, Borrelli and Pierce were back at it, reintroducing their bills in hopes of different outcomes. Unfortunately for the Senate proposal, many wondered about the federal legality regarding the tribes’ rights to operate kiosks at off-reservation sites. The measure did not get past two readings.
On the flip side, the House bill just barely passed through the House Appropriations Committee before advancing through the House Rules Committee a month later. However, the proposal never made it to the House floor.
A bill finally crossed the finish line within the first few months of 2021. The House advanced HB 2772 and was forwarded on to the Senate, which was considering its own version of the bill. On April 12, 2021, with both pieces of legislation in its possession, the Senate ultimately decided to vote on the House proposal and passed it with a 23-6 vote to meet the required two-thirds majority.
Three days later, Gov. Doug Ducey, long a supporter of legislation to legalize sports betting, signed off on the bill (which also legalized daily fantasy sports) and an updated tribal compact.
Yes. Gov. Doug Ducey signed off on HB 2772 in April 2021 that authorized state-regulated sports betting online and at retail sportsbooks located at professional teams and select venues as well as at tribal casinos.
Yes. The bill signed by Ducey allows for legal betting on any of the professional teams in Arizona, including: Arizona Cardinals (NFL), Arizona Coyotes (NHL), Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB), and Phoenix Suns (NBA). To boot, bettors will be able to wager on the likes of the University of Arizona and Arizona State University, among other in-state colleges. However, individual prop bets involving any collegiate event would be prohibited.
Similar to states that have launched or legalized sports betting across the country, it is likely Arizona will set the minimum age to bet at 21 years old.
It’s generally not a good idea, nor is it legal. These sites operate illegally and do so without adhering to regulatory standards. In addition, they offer no consumer protection. So, for example, if you visit your offshore account to see that the funds you have stored there and it’s suddenly empty, there is no legal recourse for you to retrieve those funds.
Yes. The bill that legalized sports betting also green-lit daily fantasy sports. The state set the minimum age to participate at 21 years old. Sites should be launching in Arizona before the end of 2021.