A new Arizona Senate bill could beef up the number of sports betting licenses available in the Grand Canyon State, although only Arizona’s tribal nations would be eligible to apply.
The legislation (SB 1674) was filed in the Arizona Senate by Sen. Sally Ann Gonzales, a Democrat, on Jan. 31. It would allow any or all of Arizona’s 23 federally-recognized tribes with a valid tribal-state gaming compact to seek a license to operate both retail and mobile sports betting off-reservation.
That could increase the number of available tribal mobile sports betting licenses in Arizona by 13, up from 10 available under current law. Only 20 total sports betting licenses are available in Arizona under current law.
It would also allow tribes to have retail sportsbooks off tribal lands, which they don’t have now. Those retail books could be located near major sports stadiums, another first for many tribes.
Only tribal nations would be eligible for additional licenses under Gonzales’ proposal. That would leave the number of non-tribal licenses at the current total of 10 for both retail and mobile sports betting.
More Licenses, More Opportunity?
Sen. Gonzales is a member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe in Arizona and a former member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribal Council. That tribe is not currently one of the 10 licensed to operate mobile sports betting by the state.
But that’s for mobile sports betting. Tribes in Arizona are able to operate retail sportsbooks at their tribal casinos without approval of state regulators, as long as they operate on-reservation.
Gonzales’ proposal would put them closer to the action at betting hotspots in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Glendale.
Retail sportsbooks could be located within five blocks of major sports stadiums on non-tribal land under Gonzales’ bill.
“The event wagering facility may be located in retail or commercial space on land that is not identified as Indian land pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA),” states the legislation.
Tribal-run mobile sports betting under the new scheme would be statewide, as it is now.
The legislation has yet to be referred to a committee for review in the current state legislative session which began on Jan. 10. Should it eventually become law, the legislation could make tribal operators even bigger players in an already competitive Arizona market.
What’s Next For Arizona Sports Betting In 2022?
Arizona now has nine statewide mobile sports betting apps available, including DraftKings Sportsbook, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, BetRivers, FanDuel Sportsbook, Unibet, WynnBet, Twinspires, and Barstool Sports. Additional sportsbooks are expected to launch during 2022.
In-person sports betting is also now live at the FanDuel sportsbook at the Suns’ Footprint Center, the Diamondbacks’ Chase Field (Caesars), and several casinos, with more retail books expected to open this year. Up-and-coming retail sportsbooks in Arizona include DraftKings at TPC Scottsdale, BetMGM at State Farm Stadium, and Betfred and Kambi group retail books at tribal casinos.
Arizona’s sports betting handle has exceeded $1.2 billion since the state went live on Sept. 9, 2021, according to a Jan. 31 news report from ABC15 Arizona.