- The Arizona Legislature is in the second portion of their regular session and sports betting bills are no longer up for consideration.
- Sponsor to the bills, Representative Stephen Pierce believes legalizing sports betting will be good for the economy but will not be happening this year.
PHOENIX – Arizona has been trying to get the ball rolling on legalized sports betting since they were legally allowed to do so but it seems 2020 is not their year.
The Arizona Legislature resumed their second session amid the Coronavirus pandemic, having closed-door hearings to keep with the CDC guidelines for social distancing.
Words From Representative Pierce
Representative Pierce spoke with LegalSportsBetting in reference to the legalization of sports betting in the Grand Canyon State and where the fates of AZ HB 2813 and AZ SB 1525 lie.
For all intents and purposes, he does not see legal sports betting as becoming a reality for the sports bettors of Arizona in this session.
AZ HB 2318 would have allowed for both commercial and tribal retail sportsbooks in Arizona.
No internet or mobile sports betting would’ve been greenlit with this bill.
However, AZ SB 1525 doesn’t cover the commercial aspect of the market which is why House Bill 2813 looked to be the best one for Arizona. According to Pierce AZ HB 2318, is no longer being considered for another hearing in the 2020 session.
“No, it’s dead in this form. It could have come back as a revenue source for AZ,” said Pierce.
But it did not get it’s come back as such and AZ SB 1525 will not move forward either.
Pierce is strong in his stance that gambling on sporting events in Arizona should be an industry that allows all businesses to be involved. Both tribal and commercial gaming should be open and eligible to have sportsbooks rather than the market being given to only the tribes.
This remains a theme with Pierce for legal Arizona sports betting because the tribes already have gaming rights in the state while other businesses do not. His personal views on sports betting are favorable, they’d have to be, seeing as he’s sponsoring the bills that are up for legalization.
“I think sports betting legalization is fine and should not be Indians only! They should not have a monopoly,” said Pierce. “The biggest challenge that House Bill 2318 has faced this year is Indians gaming. They believe all gaming or wagering is theirs. It isn’t!”
Because of the Coronavirus pandemic and the effects it’s taken on the economy in Arizona, it gives sports betting legalization an edge in the future as a potential revenue stream. The state is facing bigger deficits and legal sports betting could help with that problem when it is discussed again in 2021.
Pierce believes the chances of it happening then are better since the outbreak of COVID-19.
In response to asking about the future of legal sports betting in Arizona he said, “Definitely! In some form it will happen!”
While legal sports betting will not be happening in 2020 for Arizona, it’s a greater possibility to come to fruition in 2021. Sports bettors in Arizona will need to continue to wait for lawmakers to come around on the issue.
“It will be good overall,” said Pierce in closing his thoughts on making sports betting legal in Arizona.
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.