Arizona has now become one of the newest states to legalize sports betting both retail and online in 2021. In Early April they passed a bill that would allow up to 20 licenses split between the tribal casinos and professional sports teams in the state. Arizona has been one of the few states to not allow daily fantasy sports, which will also change, as it has been approved. While regulations and licenses need to be finalized, operators and the government will want to shoot for the beginning of the NFL season in 2021.
The Sports Betting Bill That Passed
In prior years there were a few bills that they tried to pass but failed. These were HB 2813 and SB 1525. There were some terms that didn’t get agreed upon and HB 2772 was the one that came to be passed at the house and senate by a wide voting margin.
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 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.
This is the bill that paves the way for legalized sports betting in Arizona. It was an identical bill to SB1979 and won the vote by 23-6. The bill allows both retail and online sportsbook, with 20 licenses split between the professional sports teams/sites and the tribal casinos. Multiple locations can operate under one license if they are a part of the same casino. Daily fantasy sports is also now legalized.
Best and Worst-Case Scenarios For Arizona
The best-case scenario is now in full effect as Arizona signed HB 2772 into law. Now the best-case scenario will be that the state hammers out regulation and fees relatively quickly to get the ball rolling for licenses to be handed out.
This process can range from 4-16 months as we have seen in prior states. However, Arizona will likely get moving on this quicker as the NFL season will be a big deadline to hit for the biggest sports betting time of the year. It is unclear how much of the framework is already figured out, but if they are farther along than we know, it could be just a few months before Arizona is up and running.
Sports Betting Timeline
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.
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.
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.
In April of 2021, Arizona passed HB 2772 to allow the legalization of mobile and retail sports betting.
Sports Betting Options In Arizona
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. This was approved in the recent bill, and those in Arizona can simply register from their phones with any legalized operator within the state.
While this is not the recommended way to partake in sports betting, it is the only way you can currently wager in Arizona if you are under 21. 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.
There are retail casinos in Arizona, both in Phoenix and Tucson, and once they begin to partner with sportsbooks, people will be able to wager on site. Keep an eye on partnerships over the next few months.
Possible Sportsbooks To Operate In AZ
Here are some potential sportsbooks that could partner up with casinos and begin operation once licenses begin to be handed out.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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. That will change now that the bill has passed to legalize both fantasy sports for prizes and sports betting. FanDuel, DraftKings, Yahoo, and other fantasy sports sites will now be able to operate in Arizona. The starting date for this will likely be around the time sports betting begins.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sports betting has been legalized in April of 2021. Regulations and licenses need to be finalized before operators can begin taking wagers. Look for the full opening of sports betting in Arizona around the end of 2021.
Sports betting will likely be available in Arizona in the Fall/Winter of 2021. The NFL season will be a likely date operators and the state shoot for to begin their full launch.
Within the new bill, you must be 21 years or older to legally sports bet in Arizona. Mobile and retail betting is available in the state, making it perfectly fine to wager on-site or from a mobile/desktop device.
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.
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.
Yes, online sports betting will be available in Arizona. Once operators begin to partner with casinos in-state, they will launch their online product which will be available to anyone in state lines that is of age.
Yes, Arizona has finally approved daily fantasy sports. They were one of six states who had banned daily fantasy sports. Within the most recent bill, daily fantasy sports are now legal to play.
Yes, FanDuel will be available in Arizona. It is one of the major markets for sports betting and FanDuel is one of the major sportsbooks and fantasy sites around the industry. Both DFS and sports betting have been legalized within the state.
Yes, DraftKings will be available in Arizona. Both Daily fantasy and sports betting were finally approved after a long battle, and DraftKings has been operating in each legalized state. Arizona will be no different once approved.
Arizona will likely launch sports betting at the end of 2021. The NFL season will be the best scenario to have it operational. Arizona legalized sports betting and daily fantasy sports.