History Behind Proposed Sports Betting Bill in Arizona
Sports betting in the United States was illegal from 1992 until 2018 because of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). PASPA was a piece of federal legislation that outlawed sports betting throughout the United States. Limited states were able to continue offering sports betting despite the passing of PASPA.
One of these areas was Las Vegas, Nevada, which sits right near the northwestern border of Arizona. The Supreme Court ruled PASPA to be unconstitutional in 2018 by a 6-3 decision. This gave states the option to legalize sports betting within their individual borders. The mid-Atlantic region of the country acted fast after the Supreme Court made their decision in 2018. The western portion of the country was a little slower to act.
Despite this, Arizona is in a sports betting hotbed because of its location in the United States. Arizona borders Nevada, but the state is also aligned right next to Colorado which is an emerging market in American sports betting. Legislatures in Arizona have tried to implement legislation since 2018. There wasn’t much substantial progress made for over a year.
Currently, there are two bills in the Arizona state government that could be the ticket for sports betting in the state. COVID slowed the legalization process, but negotiations will resume in 2021.
What Sports Betting Bill in Arizona Says
There are two bills on the Arizona legislature’s docket that include sports betting. These two bills are HB 2813 and SB 1525. It’s believed that SB 1525 has a better chance of passing, but no rulings have been made as of the end of 2020. The bills are similar with some slight distinctions.
HB 2813 was created by Republican Senator Sonny Borelli and Republican Stephen Pierce. With this bill, sports betting would only be legal at retail locations. In addition to commercial sportsbooks, horse tracks and tribal casinos in Arizona would have the ability to offer books on property. This bill has received some push back from the tribes in the state of Arizona.
Additionally, there are members of the Arizona House of Representatives that want this bill amended. The main reason for this is because of the lack of mobile betting included in HB 2813.
SB 1525 has received more backing in the Arizona Congress. This bill is also supported by the Republican party, which is a good sign for sports bettors in the state. All 24 tribal casinos could offer sports betting on property. Mobile betting still isn’t included in this bill, but residents would have the ability to vote on SB 1525 if it passed in the government.
What’s Holding Sports Betting Bill Back in Arizona?
The disagreements between the 16 tribes that operate casinos in Arizona and the legislature is the reason that sports betting has stalled in the state. The Arizona Indian Gaming Association has been the group advocating for the state’s tribes. The tribes support SB 1525 over HB 2813 because they would have a sports betting monopoly.
Under HB 2813, tribes would have to apply to open up retail sportsbooks. They would have no guarantee that their application would be approved. In addition to this, they would have to follow state mandates when it comes to sports betting. Under current gaming compacts, tribes have complete jurisdiction when it comes to how they conduct gambling. Therefore, sports betting would violate current tribal compacts.
The Arizona legislature has stated that sports betting doesn’t fall under the same umbrella as casino gaming. The Arizona Indian Gaming Association disagrees with this assumption. The tribes support SB 1525 over HB 2813. With SB 1525, tribes would be guaranteed a single retail sportsbook per casino in the state. Sports betting would only be allowed on tribal land under this bill.
Another issue with sports betting in Arizona has been the topic of mobile betting. Neither of the two proposed bills in the state includes mobile betting. Some state representatives and senators want to amend the bills to include mobile betting. This will increase the state’s tax revenue from sports wagering in an extensive way.
Sports Teams to Bet on in Arizona
Arizona law doesn’t allow betting on sports prohibited by the NCAA. However, the NCAA is unable to prohibit sports betting on college athletic events. This means that people in Arizona will be able to bet on college sports. Two of the state’s favorite Division I programs when it comes to football and basketball are the Arizona Wildcats and the Arizona State Sun Devils.
The NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and WNBA all have a single team that plays within Arizona state borders. The Arizona Cardinals play in the NFC West Division of the NFL. The Cardinals have won three NFC West titles and one NFC Championship in franchise history. The Arizona Coyotes play in the NHL’s Western Conference Pacific Division. The team was founded in 1972 but have only won a single division title (2011-12) in franchise history.
The Arizona Diamondbacks play in the National League West of the MLB. The team won their only World Series Championship in 2001. The Phoenix Suns compete in the NBA’s Western Conference Pacific Division. Phoenix won the Western Conference in 1976 and 1993, and their most recent division title came in 2007. The women’s basketball team in the state is the Phoenix Mercury. The Mercury compete in the Western Conference and have won three WNBA Championships.
Arizona Sports Betting FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Arizona?
Sports betting isn’t legal in Arizona. Conversations have been occurring about legalizing the form of gambling since 2018. There are two bills that have been proposed that include sports gambling. These bills were delayed because of COVID, but there are some fundamental disagreements surrounding this legislation.
What’s holding back Arizona sports betting?
There are multiple disagreements between the Arizona tribal nations that operate casinos and the state congress. The two sides will have to compromise in order to have a chance of launching sports betting in 2021.
Will there be mobile gambling in the state?
If sports betting is launched in 2021, it will most likely not include mobile betting. The two bills in the legislature don’t call for mobile betting. Additionally, tribal nations aren’t in favor of commercialized mobile betting because their retail books will be affected.
What’s the legal betting age in Arizona?
The legal betting age in Arizona is 21 years of age.
Is there an expected launch date for sports betting in Arizona?
The goal of sports betting proponents is to launch the form of gambling at some point in 2021. However, this is not guaranteed as of the end of 2020.
Will you be allowed to bet on college sports in Arizona?
Yes, the state bans betting on sports that the NCAA prohibits. The NCAA doesn’t have this power. Therefore, bettors will be able to wager collegiate sports.