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Licensed Arizona Sports Betting Coming via HB 2772

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There has been quite the hive of activity in the United States where legal sports betting is concerned as of late. Locations like North Carolina, Michigan and Virginia have all passed legislation through to introduce legal and regulated sports betting within their state borders in recent times. And it seems like that ball is continuing to roll as 2021 proceeds onward.

The state of Arizona has become the latest location to make sports betting a legally licensed activity following Governor Doug Ducey's signing an amended tribal gaming compact and related legislation. Through that, a wide-ranging expansion of legal gambling is to be introduced to the state, including a completely legal sports betting scene.

Arizona Sports Betting Bill Social Image

Ducey Signs HB 2772 as Expected

Pen on Paper

The expectation was always that Ducey would sign bill HB 2772, which was introduced to enact a broader 20-year extension to tribal gaming compacts within the state. At the same time as legalizing sports betting, the bill also allows the setup of legal daily fantasy sports (DFS) and keno gambling games. However, Arizonans looking for the best online poker sites will be disappointed to learn that this bill does not legalize state-regulated internet cardrooms and is strictly related to online sports betting for the USA.   

Ducey signed the bill on Thursday, April 15, and during the signing ceremony, the state governor announced the move as being a “historic bipartisan achievement.” Various tribal leaders and lawmakers were at the ceremony, alongside hundreds of others, to witness the signing. Later on in the day, Ducey took to his Twitter account and sent out a Tweet that stating that individual agendas had been put aside to place Arizona first:

Tweet From Arizona Governor

It is now in the hands of the Arizona Department of Gaming to set up the details surrounding sports betting regulations. This will include the need for a specific tax rate to be agreed upon, and operators hope that an official launch will occur by Sept. 1 this year.

A Five-Year Negotiation Preceded the Signing

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Through the signed bill, legal betting will be allowed on both professional and college competitions. Wagers will only be possible within the tribal casinos of Arizona as well as online sites owned by major professional sports teams. Keno games and DFS options will also be allowed at horse racing tracks and fraternal organizations. However, it took a five-year timeframe for negotiations to finally satisfy all parties.

Even so, it means that some of the state’s best-known and top-tier professional sports teams can provide betting operations within their venues as well as at nearby retail locations and via the internet. Therefore, it may only be a matter of a few months before teams like the Arizona Coyotes or the Phoenix Suns are operating successful betting options for state residents. As it happens, Arizona’s Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Coyotes, Raceway, and PGA Tour all spoke on behalf of the introduction of official legislation during hearings.

This has led to many sports betting operators showing high levels of interest in entering the Arizona market. DraftKings has already entered into a partnership with the TPC Scottsdale, being the first to secure market access in The Copper State earlier on in the week. And it didn’t take long for FanDuel to involve itself either, announcing a partnership with the Phoenix Suns once the signing ceremony had wrapped. This will see a FanDuel sportsbook launched at the Phoenix Suns Arena once regulations have been finalized. The brand, which started out solely as a DFS provider, has been extending its reach across the USA recently both for its DFS offering as well as traditional sports betting.

theScore has also showed vast interest in becoming a player in the Arizona market. CEO John Levy made mention of the legalization of sports betting in the state as being something to be excited about during the announcement of his company’s second-quarter earnings call on Apr. 13. theScore, which has recently been in the news for having quite the following in Ontario where iGaming is set to launch in the fall, could definitely be one of the next operators to announce a partnership in Arizona.

Licenses and Revenue

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The signing of the bill means that 20 sports betting licenses are available in Arizona. These allow for both retail and online sports betting to be provided. In total, 10 of those licenses are going to the state’s tribes, and those tribes with multiple casinos can operate multiple sportsbooks from under a single license. The remaining 10 licenses are available solely for sports organizations to take advantage of if they please.

Not all of those licenses are spoken for though with space being left for potential future teams in Arizona. Phoenix was mentioned as a potential expansion city earlier on last week by MLS commissioner Don Garber. So, if this does go ahead, then perhaps they will want to take one of the sports betting licenses for themselves.

Millions of Dollars Expected

Estimates suggest that sports betting operators could bring revenues in excess of $150 million into the state of Arizona. If it introduces a minimum tax rate of 8%, then around $12 million in taxes for the state would be generated. By 2024, the fiscal note projected that the bill as a whole will bring $34.2 million to the general fund.

The Copper State has around half a million more people than the state of Tennessee, which generated $61.9 million in sports betting revenue during the first four months of this being active. This figure also marks Arizona as a top-15 state as far as population is concerned. It has teams participating in all four of the country’s major sports leagues as well as a burgeoning metro area. All those things combined could make it a great hotspot for sports betting, with such vibrancy being on full display by 2023. That would be fitting, considering the State Farm Stadium, home to the Arizona Cardinals, is set to host the Super Bowl LVII at that time.

Other Gaming to Come

As part of the tribal bill expansion, up to four new casinos can also be built within the Phoenix area. As things stand for the moment, it is likely that only two will be built in the foreseeable future, judging by the compact documents. The earmarked locations for them will be on Tohono O’odham Nation land towards the western corner of the Phoenix metro area, and the Gila River Indian Community holdings towards the southeast.

The tribes have also been given rights to host and operate almost 6,300 new slot machines. These will be added on top of the 20,500 that were already permitted within the state.

Current Gambling in Arizona

Cards, Chips & Dice

While sports betting, keno gameplay, and DFS are on their way towards being introduced legally to Arizona, certain offshore sites are already active for players to join. If you're keen to bet on sports, then you can do so with no problem, from within AZ borders, at any one of the best USA sportsbooks online.

If poker is your game of choice, then you can find out more about the possibility of playing online poker in the state of Arizona by clicking here. For poker fans who reside elsewhere in the country we have prepared a guide to internet poker for Americans.