Arizona Capitol Building

  • Arizona Senate Bill 1797 that would make retail and mobile sportsbooks legal in the state has stalled in the Senate.
  • House Bill 2772, a bill legalizing the same things as AZ SB 1797, passed in its own committee and is ready to move forward.
  • Both bills need to be agreed upon before they can be sent to Governor Doug Ducey for signature as Ducey is in favor of a legal sports betting market in Arizona.

PHOENIXArizona’s mirrored Senate bill to legalize sports betting in the state has not been well received the way the House version has been.

On Wednesday, the Senate Commerce Committee scheduled to hear AZ SB 1797 that would make mobile and land-based sportsbooks legal in Arizona but for the second time, the Senate failed to take action on the proposal.

Meanwhile, House Bill 2772 moved forward by majority vote (9-1-0) in the exact same committee within the House on Tuesday.

What Are These Mirrored Bills Proposing?

Mobile sportsbooks would be a big part of the package with both bills, as long as operators were connected to a licensed land-based establishment or professional sporting organization. Included under sporting organizations in these proposals are the MLB, MLS, NASCAR, NBA, NFL, NHL, and the PGA.

One issue that’s been discussed is the cap on extra retail licenses which has been set at 10. This could prove to be a real problem as there are 24 casinos in the state and 16 different Tribes that would be trying to fight to get their hands on these extra licenses for individual locations.

Other states have allowed legal sports betting to be allowed as an all-inclusive licensed situation when Tribes are involved, from casinos to race tracks but these additional licenses would go to sites like horse racing tracks.

While House Bill 2772 had a favorable outcome in their committee and is expected to move forward, they also had many people show up to the hearing to speak in favor of the legislation from Tribal representatives to gaming operators.

However, no one showed from Tribes with bigger gaming interests in the state like that of the Tohomon O’odham Nation, which could speak to their opposition of these proposals.

Insiders believe this is the reason by the stall in the Senate for Senate Bill 1797 because it’s proposing the exact details of AZ HB 2772 but on a Senate level.

Also included within the legislation that may not sit well with the Tribes who wield a great deal of power over the gambling market is the inclusion of professional sports teams. The state’s teams would be eligible to open sports betting kiosks on-site for fans to gamble on their games while in attendance excluding minor league venues.

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) is also included for legalization under these two bills.

What’s To Come

The Senate will be going back to the drawing board to hear AZ SB 1797 for a third time in hopes of passing the proposal to move on to the next committee. Each of these bills would need approvals to reach the desk of Governor Doug Ducey for his signature.

The Tribes, the Governor, and all of the professional teams in Arizona as well as multiple sports betting operators that include FanDuel and DraftKings are in agreeance on Arizona legal sports betting.

However, if the Senate continues to oppose action on this legislation, 2021 will not see a legalized sports wagering market come to fruition in the Grand Canyon State.

The Arizona State Legislature adjourns for the year on April 24. No dates have been set on the schedule for when either bill will be heard on the floor next.

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