A House committee in Arizona passed a sports betting bill by one vote.

  • Arizona’s House of Appropriations Committee heard AZ HB 2813, a bill to legalize sports betting for a second time.
  • This bill would make sports betting legal at commercial locations, including horse racing tracks in Arizona.
  • Any revenue generated by the sports betting market would go toward the Arizona General Fund.

PHOENIX – Sports betting bill AZ HB 2813 that would make gambling on sporting events in Arizona legal has been passed by the House Appropriations Committee during a reconsideration hearing. On Wednesday, the bill went before the Committee where it failed by a vote of 4 YEAS and 7 NAYS.

Before moving forward to the House Rules Committee, as it’s been scheduled to do, it had to pass through Appropriations.

The Bill

House Bill AZ HB 2813 allows for sports betting to be legal at retail locations. Horse racing tracks would be included in this, making them racebooks. Internet and mobile sports betting is not a stipulation within the bill, therefore it would not be available to sports bettors in Arizona.

While AZ HB 2813 would make sports betting legal at commercial locations and allow for Tribal locations to receive permission to open sportsbooks, the Arizona Indian Gaming Association is still opposed to the idea.

They want to make gambling on sporting events a legal hobby where they are at the helm. If not, they’d like to have it written in such a way that permission is not needed because they’d have full inclusion within the bill.

What Happened?

During the hearing, multiple people spoke about their opinions on whether or not to pass AZ HB 2813 further along in the House and if they were even on board with the idea of legalizing sports betting.

“I like horse racing but I don’t want to see casino gambling go rampant in Arizona. If I did, I’d move to Nevada,” said Representative John Kavanagh as to why he was not in favor of the legalization of sports betting.

Others felt that this was a topic for stakeholders rather than a typical Committee meeting. If stakeholders and Tribe members have an opinion about legal sports betting in Arizona, they’re the ones that should be in attendance and voting on the matter.

A representative from Arizona Downs stated, “If a bill is dead then the conversation is dead. We urge you to continue this conversation.” Arizona Downs is in favor of moving the bill along and legalizing the market in the state.

When it came time to vote, AZ HB 2813 was passed by a single vote with 6 YEAS and 5 NAYS to move forward. It will now go on to the House Rules Committee.

“I’m glad they are going to have a seat at the table because they deserve a seat at the table,” said Representative Anthony Kern who is in favor of legalizing the pastime.

The legislative session in Arizona ends on April 25, 2020. Should they legalize this bill, sports betting could be seen in the Grand Canyon State by late 2020 to early 2021.

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