On April 12, 2021, the state legislature passed a mobile sports betting bill. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed the bill on April 15, formally legalizing it. Sports fans will likely see mobile apps launch in time for the first game of the NFL season.
Arizona may be geographically close to Nevada, but the two states could not be more different when it comes to gambling laws and attitudes. Indeed, Arizona has historically been a pretty restrictive state when it comes to gaming activities.
Arizona allows casinos on tribal land but little else, even though there’s lots of money being left on the table from unrealized gambling revenue.
However, recent years have led to a shift in public opinion regarding sports betting legalization, which has also been reflected in the state’s senators and representatives.
Arizona Sports Betting Recent Updates
June 16, 2021:
Arizona will hold two sessions for public comment on the state’s sports betting initiative.
June 2, 2021:
The Arizona Department of Gaming announced that it will target September 9 for the state’s sports betting launch, just in time for NFL kickoff.
May 24, 2021:
The U.S. Department of the Interior approved the amended tribal-state gaming compact, paving the way for an Arizona sports betting launch before the 2021-22 NFL season.
May 7, 2021:
Arizona State Rep. Jeff Weninger thinks sports betting will attract an MLS team and launch in time for the NFL season. In our exclusive interview, he mentioned that the next step is the tribal gaming compact clearing Washington D.C. in late June or early July which would then allow the Arizona Department of Gaming to start licensing operators.
April 22, 2021:
Arizona is moving quickly, and regulators are already kickstarting their process. As it stands, a full Arizona sports betting launch could be mere months away.
April 19, 2021:
The Arizona sports betting bill and tribal gaming compact are a bit of a puzzle, but Gaming Today has deciphered that puzzle. The Gaming Act became law, but there’s also a state tribal compact to consider. Here’s a breakdown of Arizona’s sports betting structure including the bill that was passed the tribal compact, and more.
April 15, 2021:
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signs the mobile sports betting bill, legalizing retail and mobile betting in Arizona. Part of the reason why it was unclear whether Arizona sports fans would see sports betting this year is that Gov. Ducey needed to renegotiate gaming compacts between the state and Indian tribes. In addition to the bill receiving Gov. Ducey’s signature, the renegotiated contracts will need to be approved by the Federal government.
April 12, 2021:
Arizona State Senate passes the sports betting bill with a super-majority vote of 23-6-1. State lawmakers are hopeful that apps could launch in September, in time for football season. Senate Bill 1797 included a statement that sports betting is expected to generate about $15 million in annual revenue from sports betting.
March 4, 2021:
Arizona State House passed House Bill 2772 48-12, providing for retail and mobile sports betting. The Arizona Department of Gaming will oversee the licensing and regulate the mobile betting apps. Up to 10 tribal entities can apply for a betting license along with 10 non-tribal entities.
Top Sports Betting Apps Likely To Come To Arizona
At the time of this writing, there are no currently active sportsbook operators in Arizona, including DFS or daily fantasy sports operators like DraftKings and FanDuel. Arizona is one of the few states that does not allow DFS even though it technically exists in a legal gray area. Furthermore, sportsbook operators are not allowed to have retail locations at tribal casinos throughout the state.
This changed in April 2021, when sports betting and DFS became legal in the state. Although it will take a few months for apps to launch, there are a few front-runners for sportsbook brands that are likely to receive licenses to operate in the state.
Most of the major operators in the industry would be thrilled to set up shop in Arizona due to its proximity to California, which is unlikely to legalize sports betting in the near future and which is full of people who may be willing to hop the border to partake in a few wagers.
Specifically, we expect the first Arizona sports betting apps to be based on previous state launches:
This is especially true in the case of DraftKings and FanDuel, as both operators would likely be able to offer daily fantasy sports activities as well through the same mobile betting platforms.
But all of these operators have established sports betting infrastructure throughout the country, as well as robust mobile apps that are likely to be particularly popular with new and experienced sports wagerers alike. FanDuel secured a partnership with the Pheonix Suns days after state lawmakers approved the bill, which sets them up for early success in the state. DraftKings announced a partnership with TPC Scottsdale and the PGA Tour for operation in Arizona.
The sports betting bill will allow up to 10 commercial licenses for mobile and retail sports betting. Licenses will be allocated to professional sports teams, including the Phoenix Suns, PGA Tour, and NASCAR. The bill also allows up to 10 licenses for tribes to operate mobile betting apps. Although not specifically permitted under the bill, Arizona tribes can also operate retail sportsbooks on their lands under the amended Arizona Gaming Compact, an agreement between tribes and the state.
How To Place A Bet In Arizona
When sportsbooks do finally come to Arizona, registration will be possible through one of two ways: remote registration or in-person registration. Some states, such as Illinois, require sportsbook bettors to visit the brick-and-mortar or licensed retail location of their mobile sportsbook app to complete the registration process.
But because Arizona’s prospective sports betting legislation currently includes a possibility for licenses attached to professional sports teams, this may not come to fruition. It would be impossible for people to register with a team-partnered sportsbook if they didn’t have a retail location in the state.
Download And Register
Therefore, it’s more likely that Arizona residents will be able to complete a remote registration process when signing up for a new sportsbook. This process would likely be quick and simple and require players only to download the sportsbook of their choice, provide a few pieces of personal information to verify their identity, and install the sportsbook and associated geolocation software.
Apple device users will be able to download their favorite sportsbook right to their device using the App Store. As of March 2021, Android users can do the same using the Google Play Store. Previously, Google Play didn’t allow gambling apps on its platform. However, the policy has been revised, and Android users can check Google Play Store for their app of choice first before looking on the sportsbook website.
Each sportsbook will ask for certain pieces of information, like your Social Security number, physical address, and age. The geolocation software also installed will prevent you from using the sportsbooks outside of Arizona state lines.
Account Funding And Wagering
Once that’s done, players will be able to fund their account using a variety of methods, including debit or credit card transfers, direct bank account transfers, and PayPal or other electronic wallet transfers. Players would be wise to take advantage of any opening or starting bonuses provided by the sportsbook they download. Then they’ll be able to wager whenever they like!
However, Arizona’s prospective legal sports betting legislation may also include provisions for in-stadium sportsbooks. Therefore, Arizona may end up being one of the only states where you can place a wager at a sports stadium instead of using a dedicated retail sportsbook at a casino or a mobile app. We’ll have to wait and see if this possibility becomes a reality.
Of course, any retail casinos licensed and partnered with Native American casinos will have brick-and-mortar locations players can visit. Players will be able to stop by these sportsbooks to place wagers in-person, using the amenities and screens provided by the sportsbook location to watch the action unfold on screen.
Arizona Legal Sportsbooks
At their core, the legal sportsbooks almost certain to eventually come to Arizona will be much better choices for sports betting enthusiasts than offshore or illegal betting sites. Even though the wait has been long, it’s well worth it for players to bide their time.
Simply put, legal sportsbooks have a lot of advantages over illegal betting sites. They feature much better digital security, which protects your personal information and your winnings from being stolen by cybercriminals.
Furthermore, legal sportsbooks provide much more player-friendly and enjoyable odds, so each wager you place will be fairer overall no matter whether you like to bet on the favorite or underdog.
Lastly, offshore and illegal betting sites aren’t accountable to anyone. So you won’t be able to pursue a legal resolution if your winnings are stolen or if you suspect your personal information was used for identity theft. In contrast, any legal betting sites in Arizona will be regulated by at least one authoritative body, as well as be investigated before receiving licensure.
All in all, legal sportsbooks are the way to go – you should never spend your money at an offshore site, even if it takes a while for legal sports betting to come to your state.
Arizona Sports Betting Revenue
Projections of potential Arizona sports betting revenue are difficult to finalize since the state hasn’t provided any legal gambling options in some time. This being said, we can look at neighboring states to see the revenue they’ve enjoyed for a general estimate. Moreover, Arizona Senate Bill 1797 estimated that the state could see $15 million annual revenue by 2024.
Nevada generated nearly $62 million from sports betting alone in the month of November 2020 by itself. While Nevada benefits from being known as the gambling capital of America (thanks to Las Vegas), Arizona is geographically close to Nevada and is also close to California, meaning its budding sports betting market will likely benefit from Californians looking to place a wager by hopping the border.
How Arizona Compares To Other States
Arizona’s gaming scene, in general, is pretty similar to many other states. At this time, only Native American casinos offer casino-related or other gambling activities. There are currently 23 gaming facilities operating within the state, although none of them offer sports betting.
This also means that Arizona does not offer any other gaming activities outside of Native American reservation land. Players are therefore restricted to sweepstakes casino and poker sites or must hop the border into Nevada to enjoy more relaxed gambling laws.
However, although Arizona has been relatively restrictive in the past, this changed in April 2021. Arizona’s state legislature moved relatively quickly on legal sports betting and DFS, which is much better than states which are only slowly making progress (such as Ohio).
So, while Arizona does not compare very favorably to states that already have legal sports betting and other gambling activities, it’s likely to become one of the best regulated and gaming-friendly states sometime over the next two years.
Arizona Betting Successes And Failures
Arizona Sports Betting Success
Currently, Arizona doesn’t have any sports betting successes to speak other than passing the sports betting bill. As of now, there is no legal sports betting even on Native American reservations or casinos. However, it is important to note the success of the current legislative push seeking to legalize sports betting for Arizona residents.
The recent bill passed relatively quickly and allows for up to 20 licenses for both tribal and non-tribal partners. This rivals the license opportunities in states like Virginia.
Where Could Arizona Improve Online Gambling?
Of course, Arizona can improve massively in the online gaming sphere in general. Even though sports betting legalization is on the horizon, it’ll only include provisions for online or mobile sports betting, not other types of gaming activities.
Arizona does not currently allow any online gambling activities, including casino games, poker, and other games. Players are restricted to sweepstakes sites such as Chumba Casino or LuckyLand Slots, neither of which offers the same real money casino experience many players desire.
Therefore, we’d like to see Arizona improve its attitude toward online gaming, especially given the additional revenue it can provide to the state government. States such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania have already proven that these activities can work when properly regulated.
However, Arizona may change its tune once sports betting launches and proves its economic worth. Even state senators and representatives who are opposed to online gambling may change their minds once they see the increased state revenue they might be able to use should they allow online casino and poker activities.
Legalization Efforts In Arizona
The sports betting legalization effort in Arizona began in earnest in early 2020, when the earlier pair of current House and Senate bills were floated around. However, COVID-19 and the various strains it brought on the state government stalled discussions about these bills until the latter half of 2020.
Fortunately, even though discussion stalled for a time, Gov. Doug Ducey and other state lawmakers pushed so that the bills could be reviewed and revised for further developments. Indeed, the early months of 2021 saw a new pair of joint proposals in the House and Senate titled HB 2772 and SB 1797, which are essentially revisions to the earlier bills.
Both the House and Senate passed the bill in April 2021. Governor Ducey signed the reconciled HB 2772 on April 15.
Gov. Ducey himself was looking to legalize sports betting quickly and wanted to work with Native American tribes to ensure that an amicable agreement was reached for all parties. Although the tribal negotiations need to be approved by the Federal government it is anticipated the state will move forward with licensing and will launch apps soon.
Under the bill:
- Commercial operators, including Arizona professional sports teams and facilities that host PGA tournaments or NASCAR races can apply for one of 10 mobile betting licenses. They can also apply for a license to operate a retail sportsbook at their facility or complex or within 5 blocks of their facility or complex.
- Tribal entities can apply for one of 10 additional mobile betting licenses (for a total of 20 available mobile betting licenses). These are mobile-only licenses that permit the tribes to accept wagers statewide through a sports betting site or app. In addition, under the Arizona Gaming Compact, a separate agreement between the tribes and the state, tribes can offer in-person sports betting at casinos or through retail sportsbooks on their lands.
Timeline Of Arizona Sports Betting
- 2020 – SB 2813 and SB 1525, the first major bills to be discussed for legal and online sports betting, are introduced to the Arizona legislature
- Feb 9, 2021 – HB 2772 and SB 1797 are introduced to the Arizona House and Senate. The House Commerce Committee advances its bill
- Feb 16, 2021 – The Senate Commerce Committee advances its version of the bill as well, leading to the Senate Appropriation’s Committee
- Mar 4, 2021 – The Arizona House of Representatives passes its full sports betting legalization bill. The Senate version of the bill is delayed due to discussions surrounding horse race betting
- Apr 12, 2021 – Arizona Senate passed the bill with a supermajority of 23-6-1.
- Apr 15, 2021 – Gov. Ducey signed the bill at a ceremony surrounded by representatives from more than a dozen tribes.
The legislative momentum the Arizona sports betting legalization movement is enjoying may be due to the support of professional sports teams. Many Arizona pro-sports teams are behind sports betting legalization, which makes sense given that the state is home to several MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL teams.
Arizona Professional Sports Teams
Arizona residents are huge sports fans due to the presence of several successful major league teams. These include the Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB), Arizona Cardinals (NFL), Arizona Coyotes (NHL), and Phoenix Suns (NBA). Any future sportsbook that operates in this state will undoubtedly have plenty of excellent wagers for these home teams, allowing sports fans to place bets on their teams during major gaming events.
It’s important to note that all four of these teams support Arizona sports betting full stop. It’s no surprise either since each of these teams would receive a dedicated sportsbook partnership license should legalization come to pass, allowing them to receive significant revenue as a result.
Arizona College Sports Teams
Additionally, Arizona is home to a variety of important college teams. The Arizona Wildcats and Arizona State Sun Devils are popular collegiate teams with significant fan followings of their own.
However, it’s not yet clear whether the legal sports betting bill likely to launch in Arizona will allow for collegiate sports betting. Many states allow professional sports betting but ban wagers on any collegiate sporting events for their home teams.
Time will tell whether Arizona allows for collegiate betting in any capacity or if they prevent wagerers from betting on in-state teams.
Other Sports To Bet On In Arizona
In addition to professional sports events, Arizona sportsbooks will likely provide other betting markets for more niche activities, including NASCAR, darts, and MMA fighting or UFC fighting. UFC fighting in particular is popular in Arizona, although not nearly as much as football and basketball.
Still, the bigger sportsbook operators will have a plethora of wagering activities for anyone who wants to partake.
Arizona Sports Betting FAQs
Although state lawmakers passed a sports betting bill to legalize mobile betting, sports fans won’t see apps launch until at least the fall of 2021.
You’ll need to be 21 years of age or older to place any wagers if and when sports betting comes to this state. This is the same age you already need to be to place wagers at tribal casinos.
It’s not yet known who will be in charge of regulating new sportsbook operators who come to Arizona. However, since sports betting will probably take place primarily in tribal casinos (with a few exceptions for stadiums depending on the exact legislative wording), a state-sanctioned gaming committee may be responsible for overseeing and regulating the industry.
It’s only safe if you use a licensed and regulated sportsbook app. These apps are always heavily investigated by their regulatory overseers before being granted a license, meaning they are vetted to make sure they are safe and legitimate. Furthermore, online licensed sportsbook apps have good digital security, including SSL certification, to protect their users’ personal information and winnings.
No. All other states require residents to install geolocation software when using a mobile sportsbook. This prevents them from placing a wager when they step across state lines. Arizona will likely include this same provision in any new laws. As much as you need to be physically located within the state, most states don’t require you to be a resident of that state.
We don’t know. Arizona could go either way as it does have several popular collegiate teams but many states that also have popular collegiate teams have banned sports wagers for those teams. There has not been any word on collegiate betting from Gov. Doug Ducey or other major players in the sportsbook legalization effort.
Yes, but not yet. Arizona recently passed sports betting, and it will be available at Arizona casinos and via computers and mobile devices by the 2021 NFL season.