When Will Arizona Launch Online Sports Betting?
On April 12, 2021, the state legislature passed a bill to legalize mobile betting in Arizona. Governor Doug Ducey added his signature to the bill on April 15, making legalization official. Although there are still some procedural hurdles, Arizona bettors could see mobile sports betting apps before the first kickoff of football season this fall.
Arizona is next to the gambling capital of America, Nevada. But despite this proximity, or perhaps because of it, Arizona is comparatively anti-gambling. At least it was historically, until recent changes.
The state offers no retail casino or sports betting locations, nor any online gambling options, except for the Native American casinos that dot the state.
However, new sports betting legislation was passed by the Arizona House and Senate in April 2021. This sudden and welcome shift for Arizona sports fans means that betting apps could launch this fall.
History Of Gambling And Sports Betting In Arizona
As of this writing, Arizona’s gambling scene isn’t well developed. This stems from original legislation that granted Arizona Native American tribes the exclusive rights to operate casinos within this state. Even worse, Arizona is one of the few states that doesn’t allow daily fantasy sports, which is legal in many other states that don’t allow for other gambling activities.
That said, there have been a few attempts to push for sports betting legislation in the past. One bill cropped up in 2019 but was quickly struck down. It has only been this year, in early 2021, when new sports betting bills were proposed in part thanks to the support of Gov. Ducey.
Arizona House Bill 2772 was passed by the House and then the Senate in April 2021. Governor Ducey had to reach a negotiation with Native American tribes before any bill could be passed. This negotiation needs to be approved by the Federal government before any sports betting bill officially becomes law.
Arizona Sports Betting: What To Watch
The mobile sports betting bill passed on April 21, 2021. Gov. Ducey signed off on the bill just 3 days later. The Federal government must sign off on the renegotiated agreement with the Native American Tribes.
Once this happens the Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) will establish procedures for licensing and regulation of all sports betting entities in the state. This includes overseeing licensing of both non-tribal and tribal entities who seek to operate mobile betting apps and commercial entities looking to operate retail sportsbook locations.
Non-Tribal Operators Can Seek The Following Licenses
Arizona professional sports teams, sports facilities that host an annual PGA tournament or a facility that hosts national stock car auto racing events are:
- Allowed to operate mobile sports betting statewide
- Authorized to offer sports wagering at their locaation or a facility within a 5-block radius of the operator’s sports facility as specified by ADG
Tribal Operators Can Offer The Following
Any Indian tribe, or entity fully owned by a tribe:
- May apply for one of 10 mobile-only wagering licenses to offer online betting statewide
- May accept in-person wagers on tribal lands based on an agreement between the state and the tribes
Timeline Of Arizona’s Gambling History
- 1992 – Several of Arizona’s tribal casinos opened, including Fort McDowell Casino and Yavapai Casino. This followed legislation that allowed Native American tribes in Arizona to be the sole operators of retail casino sites
- 2019 – Sen. Sonny Borrelli and Representative Stephen Pierce introduced the first potential sports betting bill to the Arizona House and senate
- 2020 – Both the above House and Senate bills were reintroduced, though neither made it as far as a committee vote
- 2021 – Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey expressed his public support for sports betting, and Native American tribes and Arizona legislators came to certain agreements to move forward with sports betting legalization. Both bills were reintroduced once more, with the House bill being slightly rewritten
- April 12, 2021 – House Bill 2772 passed both the Arizona House and Senate by an overwhelming majority.
- April 15, 2021 – Gov. Ducey signs the Arizona sports betting bill.
Arizona Sportsbook Apps – Coming Soon
When Arizona launches legal sports betting, the industry will likely explode. That’s because Arizona is home to several professional sports teams that each have small armies of fans, including the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Coyotes, and Arizona Phoenix Suns.
Let’s take a look at some of the sportsbooks most likely to launch in this state.
DraftKings is one of the biggest sportsbook operators in the country. It’s based in Boston but has a major presence in practically every state that allows legal sports betting, either in online or retail formats.
This operator offers a fantastic mobile app that includes special mobile-only wagers that players can partake in if they download the app to their mobile devices. The operator also provides deep and varied betting markets, both for major American sports leagues and for more niche activities, including cricket, darts, and foreign sports like rugby.
Live streaming and regular promotions make this a solid sportsbook choice for both beginners and sports betting veterans.
DraftKings entered into a partnership with TPC Scottsdale, who hosts PGA Tournaments. This makes TPC Scottsdale one of the commercial entities able to apply for a license from the ADG.
FanDuel is another high-quality sportsbook and DraftKings’ match. It offers live streaming, deep betting markets for American professional, collegiate, and foreign sports, and a fantastic opening bonus worth up to $1000 that’s perfect for new wagerers. Plus, on April 15, 2021, FanDuel announced a partnership with the Pheonix Suns to solify its commitment to the Arizona market.
FanDuel offers a streamlined and slick mobile app and desktop interface. Alongside regular gameday promotions, FanDuel offers special bonuses for long-time players as well.
It’s a particularly good sportsbook for fans of varied wager types and new betting pools.
BetRivers offers a relatively smaller opening bonus in the form of a deposit match up to $250. But it offers player-friendly odds and regular weekend odds specials, making it a great sportsbook to download and use on the weekend, especially for proposition bet types.
It includes good market depth and variety, especially for professional US sports like football and basketball. The mobile app is one of the best in the industry in that it was designed for mobile users first and foremost, instead of being a desktop port of an existing sportsbook interface.
The app comes with special features like a dedicated search bar and a “live right now” section to take you to live sports competitions for fast wagers.
BetMGM has a slightly larger opening bonus worth up to $500, as well as very player-friendly odds. Common and exotic wager types are represented, including proposition, parlay, and point spread bets for most major sports leagues.
It offers wide betting markets and a huge range of different wagering opportunities for a variety of sports, and not just American professional leagues. The mobile app features a minimalist interface that is easy to navigate and understand, even if you haven’t used a sportsbook before. It also offers an instant swipe betting slip so you can quickly access your current wagers.
William Hill is another likely operator to launch in Arizona if sports betting is legalized. It first launched in Europe before coming to the US, so it has greater market depth and variety for many European sports leagues compared to other American-focused platforms.
It also offers a mobile-friendly website and a good mobile app, which itself comes with an intuitive interface and layout. Unfortunately, this is one of the few mobile apps that doesn’t allow live streaming of games directly to your screen, but it’s an otherwise excellent operator nonetheless.
Arizona Gambling FAQs
AZ Sportsbook News
You can only gamble at tribal casinos in Arizona, which are located on sovereign Native American land.
Yes. The lottery is state-run and includes most major lottery activities, such as Powerball contests.
Yes. Although state lawmakers have passed a mobile betting bill and the governor signed the bill, mobile betting apps won’t be live until the Fall of 2021.
You need to be 21 years of age or older to gamble at Arizona tribal casinos.
Most likely. Every other state that has legalized sports betting has required winnings to be taxed according to a set rate. Ranges can be anywhere between 15% to 25%.
Yes, so long as you use the sportsbook more than its competitors. Such loyalty programs will give you bonus points or other promotional rewards from time to time, boosting the value you get from the app.
Yes, Arizona casinos will have sportsbooks along with mobile apps and websites. We expect both land-based and online sportsbooks to be available by week 1 of the 2021 NFL season.