- Legal sports betting in Arizona could come in 2021 as Governor Doug Ducey has become an advocate for the market.
- The State Legislature will ultimately decide the fate of a legal AZ sports wagering market-based on approvals before the 2021 session adjourns May 7.
PHOENIX – Governor Doug Ducey has made it clear to the state Legislature that he would like to see sports betting in Arizona legalized in 2021.
This could be the year that gives Arizona a clearer pathway in attaining the Governor’s goal as Tribal Gaming Compacts are set to expire, requiring negotiations among the Tribes to take place.
In the past, the Grand Canyon State has faced opposition on the subject of a legal sports gaming industry because there were fierce differences between Tribal thinking and the thinking of lawmakers when it came to the market and who would be allowed to operate sportsbooks.
Ducey’s View For A Potential Gaming Industry
Governor Ducey wants legal sports wagering in Arizona where residents would ideally be able to gamble on both professional and collegiate sporting events. To create an even better gaming industry, daily fantasy sports (DFS), and keno have been proposed as well.
It’s now up to the Arizona Legislature to decide whether they will lift bans that have been in place for years on these types of gambling.
Tribal casino games are already something that’s being done in Arizona. Tribes have the exclusive rights for casino-style games in the Grand Canyon State but there is no mention of exclusivity for sports betting, DFS, or keno that are being suggested by the Governor.
He also wants mobile sportsbooks to become legal for the state because it’s a well-known fact that mobile sports wagering is the most utilized form of gambling on sporting events in the country.
“Our goal is to bring Arizona gaming into the 21st century,” said C.J. Karamargin, Press Aide to Governor Ducey. “A lot has changed since the first compacts were signed, back when cellphones weren’t the thing they are now. The world looks a lot different today and our proposal is intended to reflect the way people live their lives today.”
The endgame for the Governor would be to create a limited but efficiently regulated sports betting industry that is lucrative to the state of Arizona.
Legal sports betting is already happening in a certain way at the race tracks in the Grand Canyon State as well as at the 50 off-track wagering locations statewide where horse and dog racing from all over the country can be gambled on legally.
What’s Next For Arizona?
Mobile sportsbooks would allow for gambling on sports match-ups to take place anywhere in the state for a more competitive market not having to be tethered to Tribal lands.
The Tribes seem open to the negotiations by Ducey regarding their new Tribal Gaming Compacts. He is simply pitching the idea that both the Tribes and the state would be able to profit from legalizing these forms of gaming in this manner.
Now it will be up to the Arizona Legislature to decide whether they like the idea of what looks to be a win/win situation for the Grand Canyon State. The Legislature convened for its 2021 session on January 11 and will adjourn May 7 where a decision on this will have been made.
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Christina has been writing for as long as she can remember and does dedicated research on the newly regulated sports betting market. She comes from a family of sports lovers that engage in friendly bets from time to time. During the winter months, you can find Christina baking cookies and beating the entire staff at Mario Kart…the N64 version of course.