Arizona Sports Betting Bill Heads To Senate Floor

In 2021 there has been a rush of states trying to legalize sports betting before the April legislation cutoff. Arizona has been one of them, and after multiple votes from the house and the committees, the bill is finally headed to the Senate. However, Arizona now has two bills that have entered the voting process over the last month, as SB 1794 has horse betting within and sports betting, which could derail the progress made between lawmakers and the state tribes over recent months.

Arizona 1Why Horse Racing Could Derail The Bill

When it comes to sports betting, the SB 1797 and 1794 bill don’t stray too far away from each other when it comes to sports betting, outside of a few key areas that could spell trouble for legalization. Now SB 1797 would allow retail and possibly online wagering with 10 tribal casinos and 10 sports venues. But now that SB 1794 has popped up again, it would violate what the tribes and state have agreed upon. The issue remains horse racing, which was banned under the Arizona Tribal-State Gaming compact. Sports betting was also in this boat before the last few months. Tribal leaders have already budged on mobile sports betting on and off the reservation, as they can partner with a sportsbook.

When Votes Will Take Place

Politics is never as straightforward as it should be, but getting any bill passed before the April 24th deadline is key. If it doesn’t, Arizona will miss out on legalizing sports betting and likely pick it up back in 2022. The HB2772 bill was far easier to pass through the house, and the SB1794 bill would likely need to see the horse racing section removed for it to pass. None of this will likely matter if it isn’t removed. The tribes will not support horse racing, even if it means sacrificing sports betting. March will be when all the votes take place, and we will have a clearer outlook on the legalization of sports betting within Arizona. If Arizona truly wants to get this rolling for 2021, then everything will need to be cleared by April. We have seen other states work quickly to begin finalizing operations and licenses as most set a deadline by the new NFL year.

Update On Mobile Betting

Mobile and online sports betting is the major draw of these bills these days, especially in the midst of an ongoing pandemic. States would be missing out on mobile and online betting revenue, as would the tribes. The current bills do allow mobile and online sports to be legal and would be included under the state-tribe gaming compact. While sports teams would get in-person betting, as would casinos, a majority of them are in the Phoenix area. Mobile betting would allow areas like Tucson and Flagstaff to partake. Neither have access to a professional sports stadium unless they drive a few hours and the casino availability is also far less in comparison to the Phoenix area. We currently see New York blocking most of their state as the up-state casinos are the only areas taking in-person sports bets.

  
Jason Guilbault has been writing and podcasting in the fantasy sports world for over five years. You can find his work at Daily Fantasy Cafe. He is an avid Tottenham fan, and follows the Boston sports teams. When he isn’t diving into stats, he is enjoying the outdoors or down at the local brewery.

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