Arizona sports betting bill sent to Governor after passing the Senate

Arizona is one step closer to legalising sports wagering after state lawmakers approved the legislation in the Senate.

A bill that would legalise sports betting in the state of Arizona has now cleared the Senate and will be sent to Governor Doug Ducey for final approval.

The legislation, HB 2772, which was introduced by Representative Jeff Weninger in February, would permit Arizona consumers to bet on sports at tribal casinos and at sites owned by major sports teams.

Yesterday, the Senate approved the bill by a vote of 23-6 and as it has already been approved by the House of Representatives, it will go to the Governor for final approval.

What’s covered in the bill?

If the bill is approved by the Governor then sports betting, daily fantasy sports, and Keno and mobile draws will become legal in the state of Arizona.

In regards to sports betting, the legislation would make 20 licenses for sports betting available. These licenses include online sports betting and land-based operations.

Ten of the licenses would be put aside for major sports teams, which could include local teams like the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals and the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes. 

These sites would be able to run sports betting operations and team up with other gambling businesses at their respective venues and land-based locations within a quarter-mile and online.

The other ten licenses would be set aside for the state tribes to run sportsbooks at their more than 20 casinos in the state. The legislation would also allow them to build new casinos in the state and offer new gambling options.

Tribal groups that operate more than one gambling location would be able to open land-based sportsbooks at each of them under a single license. 

The legislation touches on plans to charge license fees and tax the new activities but does not set any specific details or rates. However, the amounts charged will not be less than those charged to tribal casinos.

The new legislation was only able to pass after a 20-year extension to compacts between the tribes and state was agreed.

The tribal compacts

New compact agreements between the state and its gambling tribes have been in the works for several years now, as the current compacts in place are set to expire in 2022.

Ducey said: “Nearly 20 years ago, Arizona voters passed the Tribal-State Gaming Compact; it’s been a net positive for all Arizonans.

“These compacts begin expiring within the next few years. For months, we’ve been working to develop a modern, updated agreement. One that is regulated, safe and limited. And that preserves the culture of our state.”

The inclusion of sports betting in the new compacts will help modernise gambling in the state and generate new revenue streams.

According to the Senate Fiscal Note, the introduction of the new activities will help generate $34.2m in annual general fund revenue by 2024.

The compact agreements will still contain requirements for tribal operators to contribute a share of net winnings from Class III gambling activities to cover regulatory costs in exchange for exclusivity on gambling. 

However, this exclusivity will not extend to sports betting, fantasy sports, and keno.

Tribes in the state will still be limited to the number of gambling machines they can operate as well as how many facilities they can run and where they are located.

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