When the U.S, Supreme Court lifted the nation’s ban on sports betting, it opened up the door for states to decide gambling issues without interference. That took place in May of 2018. One by one, many states have been addressing the sports betting and online gambling questions. They have done so by either passing gambling legislation or choosing not to do so.

In Arizona, the battle to bring sports betting to the people of Arizona has been a fierce battle. Ironically, the battle didn’t involve the people of Arizona who have largely been in favor of having the right to bet on sports. No, the battle has been waged between the state and the state’s Indian Tribe organizations.

Addressing Tribal Concerns

In America, a lot of states have existing compacts with the local Indian nations. In many of those states, these compacts give the Tribes exclusive rights to control certain aspects of the gambling industry. That would certainly be true in states like Connecticut, California, Florida, and Arizona.

To date, all land-based casino gambling has been restricted to the control of the Arizona Indian Gaming Association (AIGA). Feeling threatened, they have been opponents of any sports betting legislation that didn’t include Tribal control of said gambling. Therein ensued the battle.

To his credit, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey was relentless in working with Tribal council leaders over the years. He did so under the assumption The U.S. Supreme Court would lift the sports betting ban. Finally, a new compact agreement was reached in March between the Tribes and the Governor, pending U.S. Department of Interior approval.

Passing of Sports Betting Legislation

While still seeking U.S. Department of the Interior approval for new Tribe compacts, the Arizona legislature went to work. In April, Governor Ducey finally signed Bill HB2772. Subsequently, The U.S. Department of the Interior approved the new compact, and sports betting became legal in Arizona.

Of course, the devil is in the details. For the benefit of interested parties, here are a few of the terms and conditions related to this new legislation.

Licenses for Indian Tribes

The Indian Tribes will be permitted to have 10 state licenses to provide sports betting through retail sportsbooks. Those sportsbooks would likely be run out of casinos controlled by one of the state’s Tribal concerns. It’s worth noting there are more individual tribes than available licenses. It will be incumbent on the AIGA to decide which Tribes will get those licenses. In addition to the 10 licenses, the Tribes will also have the right to offer online sports betting. Eventually, online gambling websites will also be allowed to offer online casino gambling access.

Licenses for Independent Organizations

There will also be 10 licenses awarded to organizations not affiliated with the Indian Nation. A good portion of those 10 licenses will be designated for the state’s professional sports franchises. That would include the Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB), Arizona Coyotes (NHL), Phoenix Suns (NBA), Arizona Cardinals (NFL), Phoenix Mercury (WNBA), Phoenix Speedway (NASCAR), and the TPC Sawgrass Golf Complex (PGA).

In terms of retail sportsbooks, each of the sports franchises will be permitted to build sportsbooks in close proximity to their respective stadiums or arenas. They cannot place sportsbooks inside their facilities. Of course, each Arizona bookmaker associated with a sports franchise will have the right to put forth an online betting site.

In terms of fees, each applicant will need to pay an application fee of $750,000 per license. They will also be on the hook for an annual licensing fee of $150,000. Each licensee will need to pay 8% of their revenues in fees for retail betting operations. Also, they will be required to pay 10% on mobile betting revenue.

It’s worth noting that prospective employees will also have to pay small licensing fees to work with bookmakers.

Sports Betting Regulations for Residents of Arizona

In the state of Arizona, the age of consent for gambling is 21 years of age. That’s how old customers have to be in order to enter casinos located in the state. That same law will be used for retail sports betting locations.

So what about AZ mobile sports betting? As Arizona gamblers start registering with online gambling websites, they will need to provide documentation. The documentation will need to show proof of age and residence. Again, the age of online gambling consent will be 21 years of age or older.

When online gamblers are making their online sports bets, they will need to be physically located within the state of Arizona’s boundaries when doing so. To ensure compliance, online bookmakers will be using geo-tracking software. This is software that identifies a gambler’s URL address. Legal online wagers will be wagers made from URL addresses registered to the state.

Finally, there is a high probability online operators will be offering welcome bonuses and betting promotions. To ensure a certain level of integrity, bookmaker employees and their family members will be excluded from bonuses. That exclusion will also apply to employees and family members of advertisers and affiliates.

Note: Online operators will have complete control over their bonus offers. The state will not get involved in any conflicts related to online sports betting operations. If anyone suspects an online bookmaker is acting against the law, they may contact the primary gambling authority in Arizona. That would be the Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG).

Bettors will be interested to know they will be able to wager on games involving local college teams. However, they won’t be able to bet on proposition bets that involve individual players on the local college sports teams.

Introduction to the Sports Betting Operators

Arizona residents will benefit from having access to some of the top sports betting operators in the U.S. At this point, several top sports betting operators have already signed exclusive contracts to provide gambling services. Here are the contractual agreements that are in place as of this time:

BetMGM = Gila River Indian Community
Fanduel = Phoenix Suns
DraftKings = TPC Scottsdale
Caesars Sportsbook and Casino = Arizona Diamondbacks
Bally’s Corp = Phoenix Mercury
WynnBet = San Carlos Apache Tribe

In addition to building retail sportsbooks, each of these operators will be permitted to run one online gambling “skin” or website. With other licenses still in play, residents should start seeing contracts that favor sports betting operators like William Hill, BetRivers, and PointsBet among others.

When Sports Betting Operations Will Go Live

On September 12, 2021, the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals will be starting the regular season against the Tennessee Titans in Tennessee. The actual start of the NFL regular season will be September 9, 2021. That’s the date all concerned parties will be targeting.

There is little doubt that American sports bettors love wagering on NFL games. Both the state and bookmakers have plenty of financial incentives to get retail and online betting sites opened by the September 9th date. Failure to do that would disappoint millions of Arizona sports bettors who are tired of driving to Nevada. They have been looking forward to betting on sports from home for decades. Now that the time is near, bookmakers need to respond.

The good news is most of the state’s issues have been addressed by the Arizona legislature. That puts the ball in the hands of the licensees that have been awaiting approval to move forward. When they get that approval, they will already have their operators under contract.

As for the operators, these are the best operators in America. They already have operations in place throughout the country. Given that level of experience and expertise, they should have no problem getting online operations underway quickly. That would certainly include meeting the September 9 deadline.

As for retail betting locations, that might take a little more time for them to address. It could be weeks or even months. However, sports bettors will be happy to simply have access to online sports betting websites. In other states like New Jersey and Indiana, online sports betting handle accounts for more than 80% of all sports betting activities. That’s likely to be the case in Arizona as well.


Yes, legal sports betting in Arizona has become a reality. It was a hard-fought process, but the powers to be made it happen.

Most likely, a lot of Arizona residents will be legally betting on sports within the next 60 days. For some people, that represents a dream come true after decades of waiting.

In the very near future, it’s possible online casinos players will be joining the fray. That would make Arizona one of the first 15 states to allows a full menu of online gambling services. That includes online Lotteries and horse race betting.

With this battle won, all bettors have left to do is choose their bookmaker, fund their betting accounts, and start wagering on their favorite sports and teams.