Arizona online sports betting is now legal, with 18 sports betting apps currently available to bettors statewide.
It’s a historic moment that many thought might never come to the Grand Canyon State, given its complex relationship between tribal and state government when it comes to gaming, and sports betting in particular.
Arizona tribal nations had to sign off on changes to state law allowing Arizona sports betting before sportsbooks could launch this fall. Twenty tribes eventually agreed to the changes in the 2021 Gaming Act last spring when they joined with the state to sign the 2021 Arizona Gaming Compact — a federally-required tribal-state agreement that was granted federal approval in May 2021. State regulations followed, with licensees announced beginning in late August 2021.
The result is a top line-up of online gambling options, both online and in-person, on- and off-reservation. As many as 40 mobile apps could eventually come online, with up to two mobile platforms possible per each of the maximum 10 tribes and 10 professional sports franchises licensed by the state. It is likely we will see 20 apps, but each licensee can request permission to add a second app, which means 40 Arizona sports betting apps could be a possibility in the future.
Daily Fantasy Sports is also part of Arizona’s online offerings under the 2021 legal changes. DFS officially launched in Arizona under six state-approved apps on Aug. 28, 2021.
Recent AZ Sports Betting Updates
SB 1674 by Senator Sally Ann Gonzales
This bill would expand the number of betting licenses available to Arizona’s state tribal nations from 10 to 22. This would cover all of Arizona’s federally recognized tribes, allowing each to have a mobile sports betting license.
Under current Arizona law, every tribe is legally allowed to offer retail sports betting at their tribal casinos without applying for licensing. Mobile sports betting licensing, however, was only awarded to 10 of Arizona’s tribes when the state’s sports betting law was passed. While there are currently only eight professional sports teams in Arizona, ten mobile licenses were awarded. Sen. Gonzales argues this conflicts with the gambling exclusivity originally given to tribes in the Indian Gaming Compact of 2003.
SB 1674 would also give tribes the ability to establish retail sportsbooks on non-tribal land. This would further increase their ability to generate revenue from Arizona’s quickly-succesful sports betting industry.
2021 Gaming Act
The 2021 Gaming Act authorizes sports betting and fantasy sports contests statewide in Arizona, including on Indian lands. The legislation also authorizes lottery-run single electronic keno and mobile draw games off-reservation at specific facilities. Licensing requirements and restrictions for sports betting, fantasy sports contests, electronic keno, and mobile draw games are defined in the legislation, which was signed into law on April 15, 2021.
2021 Arizona Gaming Compact
The amended Arizona Gaming Compact, negotiated between Arizona’s tribal nations and the State of Arizona, is a federally required agreement for the operation of Class III gambling activities on tribal lands. The new compact allows tribes to operate sports betting, fantasy sports contests, Baccarat, craps, and authorizes the use of thousands more slot machines at tribal casinos. The amended compact also authorizes up to 11 new tribal casinos.
Signed compacts received federal approval on May 24, 2021. Each compact is effective for 10 years and can be renewed for another decade, plus up to an additional three years.
Arizona Sports Betting State Tax Rate And Licensing Fees
|Arizona Sports Betting|
|Tax Rate||8.0% (in-person bets)
10.0% (mobile bets)
|License Fee||$750,000 (to apply)
|Date Signed Into Law||April 15, 2021|
Timeline For Passage Of The 2021 Gaming Act
The crown jewel of the 2021 Gaming Act in Arizona is the legalization and authorization of sports betting, both on- and off-reservation. Sports betting is allowed on tribal lands under the amended Arizona Gaming Compact and off-reservation through licensure under the 2021 Gaming Act. This includes online sports betting through browsers and mobile betting apps. It took some time, though, to successfully pass online betting laws in Arizona.
Senate Bill 1163 (Sen. Sonny Borrelli) proposed giving Indian tribes the sole authority to operate sports betting on-reservation and remotely by the kiosk. The bill passed the Senate Appropriations Committee on Feb. 26, but lost momentum under stiff opposition from several tribes engaged in tribal compact negotiations.
Senate Bill 1525 (Sen. Sonny Borrelli) was a second attempt to pass Borrelli’s proposal for land-based sportsbooks run exclusively by compacted tribes. The measure stalled in committee and never made it to the Senate floor.
House Bill 2813 (Rep. Steve Pierce) and Borrelli tried to get a similar bill through the House that would have allowed both commercial and tribal retail sports betting in Arizona. The bill made it out of the House Appropriations Committee in February and onto the House floor in March, only to stall as COVID-19 concerns rose.
House Bill 2772 (Rep. Jeff Weninger) — a companion bill to Senate Bill 1797 (Sen. T.J. Shope) — authorizes sports betting (called “event wagering” in the legislation) and fantasy sports contest betting in Arizona both on and off tribal lands, contingent upon federal approval of the amended Arizona Gaming Compact which was granted on May 24, 2021. It also authorizes electronic keno and mobile draw games off Indian lands. Referred to as the 2021 Gaming Act in the amended Arizona Gaming Compact, HB 2772 was signed into law on April 15, 2021.
Arizona Online Gambling Fact Table
|Minimum Age To Gamble||21|
|Types of Legal Online Gambling||Sports Betting, Fantasy Sports Betting|
|Date of Legalization||April 15, 2021|
|Who Regulates Online Gambling In Arizona?||Arizona Department of Gaming|
Is Online Gambling Safe?
Gambling online through state-regulated or monitored websites and mobile gambling apps is the safest way to bet online in Arizona. Legal retail and mobile online gambling operators are regulated and monitored by the Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG). It is not considered safe to share personal or financial information with non-regulated online sportsbooks.
How Can I Ensure The Safety Of My Personal Information When Using Online Casinos And Sports Betting Sites In Arizona?
Only bet through online gambling sites that are state-regulated and monitored. Gaming vendor certifications and enforcement information are available for public viewing on the ADG website. Also, make sure that the online gambling website or mobile gambling app you choose is secured by encryption software. A secure website is often indicated by a padlock icon in the URL address bar.
Who Operates The Online Gaming Sites In Arizona?
Online gambling sites in Arizona are operated by regulated — or legal — online gambling operators, as well as illegal operators. Legal sites typically cite their regulatory and licensing agency or agencies on the website. Illegal sites operate outside of the bounds of Arizona law and are typically run offshore.
What Happens If I Have A Dispute With The Online Casino In Arizona?
Disputes involving tribal casino wagers are handled by each casino’s Tribal Gaming Office (TGO), which is monitored by the ADG. The Arizona Gaming Compact gives the TGOs sole authority to resolve disputes involving wins and losses at their facility. Disputes with operators off-reservation will be regulated by the ADG through enforcement of the 2021 Gambling Act.
Who Is In Charge Of Regulating Arizona’s Online Gambling Sites?
The ADG will regulate and license online gambling operators on non-tribal lands under the 2021 Gambling Act. The amended Arizona Gaming Compact and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 give each tribe the authority to govern Class III online gaming — including sports betting and fantasy sports contests – within its tribal territory.
What Is The Difference Between Legal And Illegal Online Gambling Sites?
Legal online gambling sites are regulated by the state or jurisdiction where a bet is placed. In Arizona, gambling off tribal reservations is regulated and enforced by the ADG. Gambling on tribal lands is monitored by the ADG through the Tribal Investigations and Inspections Unit. Tribes also have their own regulatory agencies.