Arizona Sports Betting: Legal Update March 2021

Arizona has been long behind the sports betting scene as they put a deal in place with the Arizona tribes that gave them extensive rights over operating casinos within the states. Daily Fantasy Sports has also been missing from the Grand Canyon state as they are one of six states to not allow daily fantasy sports within the state lines. A sports betting bill did arise back in 2019 but was struck down without much of a chance. Given most states are now searching for ways to help their economy, many turn to the tax and operating revenue of sportsbooks and casinos. We are now at nearly 20 states that have approved sports betting in some form. Arizona is looking to join that group, as they proposed the new sports betting bill early in 2021, with Governor Ducey voicing support. While there isn’t anything official just yet, Arizona does have this bill pushed to the Senate. Mobile wagering is the big question mark within these next bills, and the tax rates are not yet clear.

Arizona 1Sports Betting Bills That Could Legalize Sports Betting in Arizona

If Arizona has legal sports betting at some point this year, it will likely be thanks to one of two bills. The two bills currently in the Arizona legislator that deal with sports betting are HB 2813 and SB 1525. The agreement for sports betting with the Tribal Nations was the starting point to all of this. This will get everything started for sports betting legislation.

HB 2813

HB 2813 is a sports betting bill sponsored by Senator Sonny Borrelli (Republican) and Representative Stephen Pierce (Republican). Under the bill, sports betting would be legal in Arizona at retail locations. Horse racing tracks would also be eligible to offer sports betting if the bill were to pass. Tribal casinos would also benefit as they would be deemed eligible to offer sports betting as well.

While tribes would offer sports betting under the bill, they still are not particularly happy about this specific bill. According to HB 2813, tribal casinos would be eligible to open sportsbooks at their casinos but only with the state of Arizona’s permission. The tribes feel they should be able to offer sports betting without the permission of the state. If the state requires them to seek permission instead of conducting legal sports betting on their own, the tribes will be forced to follow the rules under the new law as opposed to their current gaming compacts.

The Arizona Indian Gaming Association (AIGA) has been against this bill because it needs permission from the state to conduct legal sports betting. The AIGA and their opposition could prove trouble for this bill if it continues to progress. Currently, the bill is still sitting in the House.

Not only are the tribes against the bill, but some members of the House aren’t too fond of the bill either. Several members have expressed interest in seeing some amendments to the bill. The Arizona Department of Gaming would serve as the regulatory body for sports betting under HB 2813. The bill does not allow for mobile or online betting.

SB 1525

SB 1525 is essentially a remade bill from last year’s session. SB 1158 was the bill directed towards legalizing sports betting in the 2019 legislative session in Arizona. The bill last year didn’t make it very far, and the results may be similar again this year.

SB 1525, like HB 2813, is also sponsored by both Borelli and Pierce. They were also the sponsors for last year’s SB 1158 that failed to make a serious run in the Arizona legislature. Like HB 2813, SB 1525 would also allow for legal sports betting on tribal lands.

Of the 24 tribal casinos located in Arizona, each one would be eligible to offer sports betting. Sports betting would be allowed through sportsbooks and kiosks. Mobile and online sports betting would not be allowed under the bill. The bill would require a voter referendum if passed, making it even more difficult to become a law.

Best and Worst-Case Scenarios For Arizona

Online Sports BettingWith the tribes and the state government finding some mutual agreement that sports betting needs to be viewed as an option within the state, Arizona has some hope. In early 2021, Arizona reintroduced a revised bill from 2019 and a new sports betting bill that would allow tribes to operate sportsbooks and have on-site sportsbooks at professional venues. This would mean pro teams could build something like a sports betting lounge. However, mobile and online sports betting remains to have momentum, with the tribes opposing the idea. It is no surprise as what has held the state back in the past is the tribes keeping laws to force traffic their way. The best-case scenario is for the state the approve these new bills during the Spring legislation, and the details get hammered out in 2021 to begin to allow licenses to be distributed in late 2021 or early 2022. This would allow Arizonians to see some sports betting launches.

While the House passed these bills with a strong decision, the worst-case scenario would be the Senate striking this down or pushing it back to a later date. Pushing it back would likely mean they revisit this in several months. Now you could add into this doomsday scenario that the tribes could begin to rethink their alignment with the state to get the ball rolling, but that seems unlikely with both sides in need of revenue.

Sports Betting Timeline

2019

Two years ago, Sen. Sonny Borrelli and Rep. Steve Pierce brought a bill to the table that would legalize sports betting in Arizona. This drew plenty of pushback from the Arizona Indian tribes as they didn’t want sports betting despite being included in operators’ list. The bill did not include mobile betting and didn’t make much noise.

2020

The year started much of the same, as both Sen. Sonny Borrelli and Rep. Steve Pierce reintroduced their bills. Nothing changed as it did not get to a committee vote.

2021

With the Arizona economy looking for new revenue, Gov Doug Ducey expressed his support for sports betting. The tribes and Arizona have come in agreement to move forward with sports betting. This was the first hurdle as they usually drew opposition. A reintroduction of the bill alongside a newly written bill hit the House in January. It received a passing vote within the House committee and has been sent to Senate, where it awaits a vote.

Possible Sports Betting Options In Arizona

mobile sports betting iconMobile/Online

This is where Arizonians will be likely disappointed, as mobile and online betting is not as front and center in the bills but could sneak through if the state decides to go all out. Mobile and online betting means that you can wager on sports teams from your phone or desktop instead of an in-person casino or designated area.

Offshore

While this is not the recommended way to partake in sports betting, it is the only way you can currently wager in Arizona. This is one of the negatives that come with banning legalized sports betting, as many turn to offshore sites or go to Nevada with a quick drive. Bovada is one of the major offshore sites, and there is no guarantee for safe deposit and withdrawal options.

In-Person

If the 2021 bills do pass, those in Arizona would have the ability to go wager in person at licensed operations. Most of these would be through the Tribal casinos. However, it would also give the chances for professional sports venues to have kiosks and designated areas that would allow sports betting and see more brick and mortar within the bill.

Possible Sportsbooks To Operate In AZ

While sports betting is not yet legal in Arizona, here are some potential sportsbooks that could partner up with casinos and begin operation if sports betting becomes legalized within the state of Arizona.

draftkingsmobileappicon-115x115DraftKings

DraftKings is one of the top sportsbooks in the industry, but they have not operated within Arizona even as a daily fantasy platform. They would have to partner with a licensed operator, but it could be an option if legalized. DraftKings is one of the leaders in sport and prop offerings and also has one-game parlays. The ease of having one account for all their features is also a major plus.

fanduelsportsbookapple-115x115FanDuel

The second DFS site to also offer a sportsbook is FanDuel. While not quite as sharp as DraftKings when it comes to interface and site performances, they offer quite a bit of sport, have promotions, and a decent customer support system. Much like DraftKings, they would need to partner up with a licensed casino to operate within the state of Arizona.

pointsbetappleicon-100x100PointsBet

PointsBet is backed by NBC and has established itself as serious newcomers in the sports betting industry. They offer some unique ways to bet and also have a strong selection of offerings for sports. PointsBet also has one of the better new user promotions as well. I would consider them one of the better sportsbooks out there despite not having a deep history in sports betting like some of the others.

betmgm sportsbook apple icon 150x150BetMGM

You might have heard of BetMGM already, given they are a hotel and casino chain. Given the tribes within Arizona, they will not be breaking into the state with any in-person casinos just yet but could link up with a Tribal casino to be operating. They are a very notable sportsbook that has established itself in Vegas. They are now spreading their sportsbooks across multiple legalized states. BetMGM also has a strong mobile app for mobile wagering.

william hill mobile app largeWilliam Hill

Another notable name and long-time name in the industry is William Hill. Much like Bet MGM, they have a known sportsbook and have begun to move into legalized states to partner with casinos. Their mobile experience is one of the best, and they have a strong customer support team. William Hill is one of the better companies within modernized gaming.

Arizona Sports Teams To Bet On

arizona cardinalsArizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals have not been around a long time but have been one of the more relevant teams over the last decade. They play in the NFC West, facing teams like the Rams, Seahawks, and 49ers. If the Arizona sports betting bill passes, you could wager on the Cardinals alongside various prop bets. They are also an enticing team for the future with Kyler Murray, and making some futures bets isn’t a bad idea.

phoenix sunsPhoenix Suns

Phoenix has had one of the toughest runs in the NBA without a title. They have come close back in Charles Barkley’s years and then not too far after with Steve Nash. Phoenix might be looking to make another run soon behind Devin Booker and company. NBA sports betting has become immensely popular. Prop bets and betting on totals are some of the favorite ways to bet by the public.

arizona diamondbacksArizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks are the ones to have brought the lone championship to Arizona professional sports back in 2001. The Diamondbacks are in the NL West, where they have some heated rivalries with the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies, and San Diego Padres. There is an ongoing list of MLB props available to wager on, and the same goes for team bets.

CoyotesPhoenix Coyotes

Hockey isn’t necessarily known for belonging in the desert, but the Phoenix Coyotes have had their moments in the franchise’s history. If Arizona passes a sports betting bill, there is a chance the Coyotes could have legal sports betting kiosks within their stadium, and you could bet on NHL games across the league.

arizona wildcatsArizona Universities

There is no news about whether college sports would be allowed to be wagered on by the people of Arizona. In most states, there are some rules in place to bet on college sports leagues. If they do allow sports betting on college teams, you can wager on both Arizona and Arizona State University.

Daily Fantasy Sports In AZ

Daily fantasy sports have never been legal in the state of Arizona and from day one. The issue has always been that the tribal casinos view fantasy sports wagering as a game of chance. Therefore it is illegal to operate since it is outside of the tribal casinos. Gaming tribes might look to change their views. There have been some small proposals to legalize, but they never make it very far. In 2021 there could finally be some change as, within the new bill, there is a chance for daily fantasy sports to become legal in Arizona. That means FanDuel and DraftKings could operate within the state. However, this is not a guarantee to go through. Keep updated here with the latest daily fantasy sports news in Arizona.

FAQ

questionmark

Frequently Asked Questions

Is sports betting in Arizona legal?

No. Sports betting is not currently legal in Arizona. There are currently two bills in the state legislature that could legalize sports betting in 2021. As Arizona has a state budget crunch, there is more of an urgency for revenue.

When will sports betting be legalized in Arizona?

There is no way to tell for sure when sports betting will be legalized in Arizona. It is possible that sports betting will be legalized in 2021 with a bit of luck. However, it may be until 2022 before any legal sports betting becomes available in Arizona.

What are Arizona sports betting laws?

Since sports betting is not legal in Arizona, there are no actual laws about what you can and can’t bet on. However, based on the bills we have seen over the last year or so, it appears that mobile and online sports betting will not be a part of the initial legal sports betting launch in Arizona.

What is the Arizona gambling tax rate?

In Arizona, residents are subject to a 5.0% tax withholding on lottery winnings, while non-residents are subject to 6.0%. Lottery winnings of $600 or less are not reported to the IRS. Winnings over $5,000 are subject to a 25 percent federal withholding tax.

Where is the closest sports betting place to Arizona?

Three of the five states bordering Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico all have legal sports betting. Colorado recently legalized sports betting last November, but they have yet to launch any legal sportsbooks. Colorado is expected to launch sports betting on May 1st, 2020.

Is there sports betting online in Arizona?

No. There is no legal way for Arizona residents to bet on sports online in their home state. Based on the bills that have been filed for sports betting over the past two years, online sports betting may not be legal in Arizona for some time. None of the bills filed allowed for legal online sports betting.

Is daily fantasy sports legal in Arizona?

No. Arizona is one of just six states that generally consider daily fantasy sports illegal. DraftKings, FanDuel, and other major DFS sites do not operate in Arizona. It is unknown if and when Arizona plans on addressing DFS in regards to legalizing it.

Is FanDuel betting in Arizona?

No. FanDuel does not operate in Arizona. Sports betting and daily fantasy sports are both illegal in Arizona. Therefore FanDuel does not operate in Arizona. However, whenever Arizona does legalize sports betting and/or DFS, look for FanDuel to be one of the first companies to enter the state.

Is DraftKings betting in Arizona?

No. DraftKings does not operate in Arizona. Sports betting and daily fantasy sports are both illegal in Arizona. Therefore DraftKings does not operate in Arizona. However, whenever Arizona does legalize sports betting and/or DFS, look for DraftKings to be one of the first companies to enter the state.

If/When sports betting is legalized in Arizona, how long will it take to launch?

There is no set timeline for how long it takes to launch sports betting from the time it is legalized. If Arizona does legalize sports betting on tribal lands, it may only take a couple of months. Arizona could have a relatively quick turnaround from legalization to launch.

  
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.