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AZ sports betting bill heads to Governor after tribal compact extended


Arizona has taken a step closer to regulated sports betting after the state secured an extended tribal gaming compact, allowing a bill aiming to legalize wagering to clear the Senate and progress to Governor Doug Ducey.

Introduced by Representative Jeff Weninger in February, House Bill 2772 would allow consumers in Arizona to wager on sports at tribal casinos and sites owned by major league sports teams.

Arizona’s Senate approved the bill by a vote of 23-6 yesterday (April 12), and with it having already passed the state’s House of Representatives, the bill will now progress to the Governor for signature into law.

Should HB2772 come into law as expected, the bill would allow online and fantasy sports wagering, as well as add limited Keno games at off-track betting locations and social clubs.

Key provisions in the bill include making 10 licences available for major league sports teams such as the National Football League’s Arizona Cardinals and National Hockey League team the Phoenix Coyotes.

These properties and facilities would be able to run sports betting operations, and bring in gaming partners, at their respective venues, at retail locations within a quarter mile and online.

The legislation also offers tribes up to 10 licences to run sportsbooks at their more than 20 casinos in the state, as well as allowing them to build new casinos and expand their gambling offerings.

The bill outlines plans to charge licence fees and taxes, but does not set out any specific details related to these changes, besides that the amounts will not be less than those charged to tribal casinos.

Senate Bill 1797, a bill identical to HB2772, also secured approval in the Senate.

HB2772 was only able to pass after a 20-year extension was agreed to the state’s tribal compacts with tribes.

Points in the compact include continued requirements for tribe to contribute a share of net win from Class III gaming to pay for regulatory costs in exchange for exclusivity on gambling, with the exception of sports betting, fantasy sports and keno.

Tribes will still be limited a to the number of gaming machines they can operate, as well as how many facilities they can run and where these sites can be located in the state.

The compact has also been amended to allow for event wagering on sports – as per terms in HB2772 – as well as keno through lottery, fantasy sports and mobile betting.

“Nearly 20 years ago, Arizona voters passed the Tribal-State Gaming Compact; it’s been a net positive for all Arizonans,” Ducey said.

“These compacts begin expiring within the next few years. For months, we’ve been working to develop a modern, updated agreement. One that is regulated, safe and limited. And that preserves the culture of our state.”