Arizona Legislature Passes Sports Betting Bill

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Arizona retail and mobile sports betting legislation made it through the Arizona Senate today by a supermajority vote of 23-6-1. The bill now goes to Gov. Doug Ducey, setting sportsbooks in Arizona up for late-summer launch.

An exact launch date is contingent upon federal approval of renegotiated gaming compacts between Ducey and the state’s 22 federally recognized Indian tribes. Licensing can begin once the compacts are approved, and state regulations are in place.

Rep. Jeff Weninger, lead sponsor of the sports and event wagering legislation found in House Bill 2772, expects all the pieces to come together by September. The House passed the bill March 4 on a vote of 48-12.

“Long and short of it, gaming compact gets signed off on and this bill gets signed off on, it means we can most likely be betting by football season,” Weninger told sports radio host Jody Oehler last week.

Also celebrating the bill’s passage is Sen. T.J. Shope, who sponsored companion legislation which was substituted with HB 2772 by the Arizona Senate today.

“The real winner in all this will be the taxpayer, who’s going to notice revenue is coming into the state without raising taxes. And that’s going to be a significant victory for everyone that relies on our state revenue,” said Shope.

Details Of The Arizona Legislation

Sports betting licenses (and other event wagering licenses) in Arizona will be awarded to up to 10 compacted tribes and 10 non-tribal entities through the Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG). Retail and mobile wagering licenses will be awarded to non-tribal entities. Mobile licenses will go to the tribes.

Legal sports wagers will include prop bets, partials, esports, and combos.

Here’s how licensing will work:

Non-tribal operators
  • Arizona professional sports team or franchise; sports facility that hosts an annual PGA Tour tournament; national stock car auto racing touring race in Arizona; or owner, operator, or promoter designee
  • Allowed to operate both retail sports betting at a sports facility or complex, and mobile sports betting statewide
  • Authorized to offer sports wagering at a facility within a 5-block radium of the operator’s sports facility, and mobile sports wagering (including through a sports betting platform) as specified by ADG
Tribal operators
  • Eligible operators will include an Indian tribe, or entity fully owned by an Indian tribe, or its designee
  • Authorized to only operate mobile event wagering under the licensing provisions
  • The legislation does not permit tribal operators to receive a license for retail sports betting, but tribes will be able to accept wagers in person under a separate Arizona Gaming Compact without a need for licensing

Licensed operators will also be allowed to partner with ADG-permitted racetrack locations or another facility for a limited wagering license that accepts bets at a single, specific location. The ADG is authorized to issue 10 limited wagering licenses at 10 locations.

Keno Games And Fantasy Sports

Arizona will also allow electronic keno and mobile draw games under HB 2772 through a state lottery mobile app. Licensing for electronic keno at physical locations will be limited to veterans’ organization, racetrack facilities, or other specific pari-mutuel locations.

Additionally, both mobile and in-person fantasy sports betting will become legal under HB 2772, prohibiting anyone from offering fantasy sports contests in the Grand Canyon State without a state fantasy sports contest operator license. Renewable licenses will be valid for two years. Eligible Indian tribes will be excluded from licensing requirements.

Expected State Revenue

A fiscal note on SB 1797 (also applies to HB 2772) states that Arizona is expected to generate $34.2 million in annual state General Fund revenue under the legislation by fiscal year (FY) 2024.

About $15 million of that total is expected to come from sports betting.

About the Author

Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region who covers legislative developments at Gaming Today. She worked as a public affairs specialist for 23 years at the Kentucky State Capitol. A University of Kentucky grad, she has been known to watch UK basketball from time to time.

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