Sports betting has made it to Arizona after the signing of a new bill and amendments to the current compact.
On April 15, Governor Doug Ducey officially signed House Bill 2772 along with amendments to current gaming compacts with the state’s tribes. With the new legislation, betting on college, professional, and fantasy sports is now legal across the state, as well more games will be offered at casinos such as craps and roulette.
Before reaching Ducey, the bill faced one final vote in the Senate, receiving a 23-6 vote, with one member not present.
“The package, which permits betting on professional and college competitions at tribal casinos and sites owned by major pro sports teams, took more than five years to negotiate,” Ducey said.
The new legislation will provide the teams and tribes with betting licenses. Organizations such as NASCAR and professional golf will also qualify for the licenses.
The Arizona Republic reported “10 professional sports teams and 10 tribes can acquire sports betting licenses under the bill. All can offer mobile betting. The off-reservation sportsbooks also can offer betting at sites within five blocks of their sports facilities.”
After the signing, the Suns announced their partnership with FanDuel and plans for a luxury sportsbook at the arena by the start of the 2021-22 season. As well, the PGA Tour and DraftKings revealed plans for retail and mobile betting services. Plans for a year-round sportsbook at TPC Scottsdale, home of the Phoenix Open, were announced as well.
Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall spoke about the new legislation on Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf radio show, expressing excitement about the new changes with hopes for increased fan engagement and increased revenue for the state.
“It’s a win-win for everybody, but most importantly the engagement and I would also say the tax revenue. … We’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars for the state and the general fund,” Hall said.
An 8% tax rate will be placed on all revenue after subtracting payouts. The Joint Legislative Budget Committee, which reviews new laws to estimate their financial impact, estimated the state will bring in about $34 million in new annual revenue. The number was estimated based on the details of the bill and the experiences of other states.
The new bill also allows for four new casinos in the Phoenix area. There are only plans for two of them, one on Tohono O’Odham Nation land in the far-western metro area, and one on Gila River Indian Community in the southeastern Valley.
Tribes will also be able to operate nearly 6,300 new slot machines, plus a boost every two years after the deal is approved by the federal government. Card and gaming tables will also be expanded. Currently, about 13,500 of the 20,500 allowed slot machines are being used across the state and 430 of 3,600 tables according to the state Department of Gaming.
The ability to bet on college sports did receive some backlash from the Arizona Board of Regents, but a critic of the bill, Sen. Sally Ann Gonzales, D-Tucson, told the Republic lawmakers have silenced the universities.
“They’ve gotten their marching orders,” Gonzales said. “If they want budgets for their universities, they better stay out of this fight.”
Betting on college sports will be limited to point spreads and game-winners.
The gambling age will be 21, the same age required to wager in casinos. However, the new law included a measure to make sure remote betting via mobile is allowed. Sports betting is expected to get started by the end of the year; the compact still needs to go through some Federal approval before licenses are issued in the state.
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