Arizona Senate

  • Senate Bill 1797 to legalize mobile and retail sports betting in Arizona along with daily fantasy sports has moved forward to its next Committee in the Arizona Legislature.
  • The 2021 session has seen the first real combined efforts from Governor Doug Ducey, the Tribes of Arizona, and commercial operators all coming together to find a common ground for sports wagering.
  • The Arizona Legislature adjourns April 24 and a decision on AZ SB 1797 as well as its companion bill AZ HB 2772 will be made by then.

PHOENIX – The Arizona Legislature has moved forward with a Senate companion bill that would legalize sports betting as the House version of the bill received its own approvals days before.

On Wednesday, sports betting legalization in the Grand Canyon State gained more momentum as Senate Bill 1797 passed in the Senate Commerce Committee by a vote of 6-3.

Each piece of legislation will continue on within the Legislature for what looks to be positive trajectories.

However, it’s still too soon to be excited at the prospect for a market for Arizona legal sports betting with this legislation as the 2020 session had some traction of its own that eventually stalled out and died in Committee.

Senate Bill 1797

Senate Bill 1797 would legalize mobile and land-based sportsbooks in Arizona. The proposal allows for both sporting events and Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) to be open for wagers. Various locations would be eligible to apply for licenses with a mix of Tribal and commercial businesses.

There is a lot more detail that needs to be discussed as far as numbers are concerned but lawmakers purposely left these things a question mark so that a balance could be found during future hearings that would ease the concerns of all those involved.

Many people at the hearing on Wednesday voiced their issues with everything from who would be able to apply for a license to operate a retail and mobile sportsbooks to tax rates and the language used within the proposal.

House Bill 2772, the mirrored companion bill of AZ SB 1797 passed on Tuesday in the House Rules Committee but has not yet been put on the schedule for its next hearing. It is the hope that both bills be passed during the 2021 Arizona session. Senate Bill 1797 will move to the House Appropriations Committee for a hearing on February 23 in search of its next greenlight toward legalization.

Outlook For Arizona Sports Betting Legalization

Legal sports betting in Arizona is moving along nicely considering that the multiple parties involved with the gaming industry are all in favor of getting some sort of bill passed to make the activity legal.

Governor Doug Ducey, the Tribes, and operators like DraftKings all want to see a legalized market for sports wagering in the Grand Canyon State in 2021. Governor Ducey has been in talks with the Tribes regarding their Tribal Gaming Compacts and renegotiations for the inclusion of sportsbooks in these compacts.

Outside of that, there is the issue that Historical Horse Racing (HHR) and its own legislation will take up a lot of time in the Legislature but many believe these gaming bills can all be spoken of in unison to get the proposals heard.

The Arizona Legislature adjourns for the year on April 24 but with so many advocates for the legal sports betting industry this time around, sports bettors in the state may just receive the favorable outcome they’ve been hoping for over the last few years.

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