When Will Sportsbetting Be Legal In Arizona?
In states where casino gambling is run by Indian tribes, the legalization of sports betting has been a tough sell. In states like Connecticut, things have been going fairly smooth in terms of bringing sports betting to the state’s residents.
Conversely, states like Florida and California will have a much bigger mountain to climb. The same thing could have been said about Arizona as recently as the middle of April. With a federal compact in place with the state of Arizona’s leading Tribes, the Arizona state legislature struggled to get a sports gambling law in place that was agreeable to Tribe interests. Whatever agreement could be reached was going to have to be approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
What transpired in Arizona over the last two or so months has been a true revelation.
Signing of a Sports Betting Bill in Arizona
Thanks to the negotiating efforts of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, the state was finally able to reach an agreement with the state’s Indian Tribal Council. The agreement opened the door for the passing of sportsbetting Arizona legislation, which officially took place on April 15, 2021 (bill HB 2772). Of course, the new compact the state reached with the Indian Tribal council still needed final approval, which was received by the U.S. Department of the Interior on May 24.
Arizona Sports Gambling Law Details
Since the legalization of sports gambling is being handled at the state level, there are as many as 25 different laws spanning the nation. That’s not a big issue since each state can monitor the sports betting activities of its residents. This monitoring is being facilitated by geo-tracking software that identifies the state in which a bettor is sitting when they make an online wager.
As far as the details are concerned regarding the sportsbetting Arizona law, here are some details.
1. Retail, casino, and online sports betting will be permitted.
2. The state may issue up to 20 sports betting licenses.
3. The state Department of Gaming will allocate 10 of those licenses to the state’s professional sports franchises, including the Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Coyotes, and Phoenix Suns. Also included in this group will be NASCAR and the TPC Scottsdale PGA Golf organization. Note: sports franchises can have one retail sportsbook in their playing facilities and another one located in close proximity to said facilities.
4. The other 10 licenses will be reserved for federally recognized Arizona tribes.
5. Casino licensees will be permitted to have retail sportsbooks inside their casinos.
6. Each licensee will be permitted to sponsor one online sports betting skin with designated operators needing approval from the Department of Gaming.
7. All online sports bettors must be registered with a licensed Arizona sportsbook operator. Bettors will be required to present proof of age, which needs to show the bettor is at least 21 years of age.
7. Money line and point spread betting will be permitted on the state’s college teams, but future odds betting and proposition bets on college players will not be permitted.
8. To date, the license fees and applicable sports betting tax rates have not yet been set in stone. Those regulations should be set by the end of June.
9. Applications are being accepted for prospective sports betting licensees.
Likely Retail and Online Bookmakers
The list of potential sportsbook operators should surprise no one. Given the high population of potential sports bettors in Arizona, the best bet of the year is most if not all of the country’s major sportsbook operators want in on the action.
With 20 available skins, there is a very good chance Arizona sports bettors will be interacting with many of the following operators: DraftKings, FanDuel, William Hill, PointsBet, BetMGM, BetRivers, Caesars, bet365, Unibet, and a slew of smaller operators that will be looking to find a place of their own. Note: Several of these operators already have contractual agreements in place with either a retail casino operator or sports franchise.
When Will the First Bet Be Accepted?
For Arizona sports bettors, the wait to legally bet on their favorite teams is almost over. Of course, there are a few more loose ends that need to be tied up, including the approval of licensees and sportsbook operators.
To be clear, all eyes are on the start of the NFL’s regular season, which is slated to begin on Sept. 9, 2021. For what it is worth, the Arizona Cardinals will start their season three days later on Sunday, Sept. 12. Given the popularity of betting on the NFL, everyone concerned has plenty of motivation to get sports betting operations up and running by the start of the NFL season.
If by chance operations would be in place earlier, the first actual legal sports bet in Arizona could be on the Arizona Diamondbacks of MLB.
Moving forward, more information should be coming out in the next couple of months. If everything falls neatly into place, Arizona would become the 22nd or 23rd state to offer its residents sports betting opportunities.