Arizona passes legislation to allow sports betting, other gambling in state


Andrew Milligan sumo (Flickr)

Arizona recently passed legislature to allow sports gambling

Michael Russell, Reporter

Both houses of the Arizona state legislature recently passed sweeping measures legalizing many types of gambling.

Gov. Doug Ducey signed the bill into law on Thursday.

In one fell swoop, Arizona went from being one of the most restrictive gambling states in the U.S. to one of the most tolerant.

The cornerstone of the bill is legalized sports betting.

On May 14, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 7-2 to allow states to legalize sports betting if they choose to do so.

Until then, Nevada was the only state in the U.S. where gamblers could place a legal sports bet.

The state enjoyed a monopoly in that department for nearly 70 years — from 1949, when the first legal sportsbook opened in Nevada, until the 2018 court ruling.

Following the 2018 ruling, New Jersey became the second state to allow sports betting.  Since then around 20 states have joined the fray, with Arizona becoming the latest to do so.

Many of those states have restricted operators to either in-person sportsbooks or online only wagering.

Arizona’s plan will reportedly blend the two, with sportsbooks appearing at 10 tribal casinos in addition to as many as 10 professional sports team arenas. Those sports team operators will also be allowed to offer online or mobile app wagering.

College betting is not allowed on in-state teams in about half of the legalized states thus far.

It is unclear if Arizona will have such a restriction. However, no college proposition bets will be allowed, only betting on the winner versus the spread.

Arizona has been one of only seven states to prohibit daily fantasy sports betting.

FanDuel and DraftKings are the top two DFS operators in the U.S. DFS started in 2007 and quickly became a popular offering. If your team had a bad day, no problem, as you pick an entirely new lineup the next time you play. Million-dollar prize pools are frequent occurrences, especially when the NFL season starts.

The new law does permit regular, year-long, private fantasy leagues as long as there are 15 players or less.

Some additional types of gambling thrown into the bill were live craps and roulette for the Tribal casinos, plus keno and draw games for fraternal and veterans organizations as well as racetracks.

Arizona sports and wagering enthusiasts will hope for strong competition among operators and adherence to the U.S. anti-trust laws to ensure they get the best bang for their buck.

Sports betting operations are aiming for a Sept. 1 opening — just in time for the NFL season.