Arizona Tribal Casinos Gain Benefits Through Sports Betting Legislation

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed the new sports betting legislation back in April, which allows sportsbooks to operate in the state. The new legislation also added beneficial amendments to the existing gaming contracts.

Arizona Sports Betting

Even though Arizona is now allowing sports betting in the state, the Arizona Department of Gaming will only be granting ten licenses to tribal casinos and ten licenses to local sports franchises. As of now, nine partnerships have formed including a partnership between FanDuel and the Phoenix Suns and WynnBET and the San Carlos Apache Tribe. The San Carlos Apache Tribe operates two casinos in the state, the Apache Gold Casino Resort in San Carlos and the Apache Sky Casino in Winkelman

Sports betting is expected to launch on September 9 and bring in much needed revenue to the state, an expected $252 million annually.

But with the limited amount of licenses being granted to tribal casinos, many Arizona Tribes will not see the extra revenue from sports betting. There are 22 recognized Tribes in the state, meaning more than half will be without sports betting.

Arizona Tribal Fund

Smaller communities in isolated areas are unable to run large-scale gambling operations. To help these Tribes in Arizona, the new legislation includes the establishment of the Compact Trust Fund.

Indigenous nations in the large metro areas of Phoenix and Tucson will be required to deposit a portion of its annual revenue into the fund. Revenues from gambling operations make up the majority of incomes in the Tribal areas. This extra supplement will secure long-term financial stability to all Arizona Tribes.

“This bill is extremely important because it’s going to help finalize an agreement that is going to continue to bring much-needed revenue to these reservations,” said John MacDonald, the representative of the Hualapai and Havasupai peoples of northwestern Arizona. “It’s a significant part of what these tribes have to use in their budgets every year. It’s used for a wide variety of needs, care for elders, care for children, education, infrastructure, and many different aspects of tribal life.”

In addition to the Compact Trust Fund and allowing sports betting to Arizona, the new legislation also allows for the building of new casinos across Arizona, permits a new range of games, and raises the maximum betting limit. 

About the Author

Calli Varner

Calli is the editor and senior contributor of As a football fanatic and lifelong resident of Arizona, she proudly cheers on the Arizona Cardinals. But her heart belongs to her number one team, the Kansas City Chiefs. (Go Chiefs Kingdom!) You can follow Calli on Twitter at @CalliDoesSports.