Sports betting is illegal in the state of Arizona but that does not mean that the Grand Canyon State is not attempting to change that. In early 2019, there was a sports betting bill drafted by Representative Kenshield. This bill aimed to eliminate some of the complications associated with sports betting in Arizona. However, it is too soon to tell how much support this legislation will gain and, if it passes, when it could take effect.
There have been efforts in both chambers to pass gambling legislation that would allow state residents to wager on sports events in Arizona. Representative Kenshield proposed a bill that would allow sports books to participate in “weekly” games. These would be played by tribal members who would be using their own funds. The proposal never made it out of committee. Similar efforts to legalizing sports betting failed in previous legislative sessions.
Representative Thompson has reintroduced a bill to legalize sports betting online. His plan would make it legal for people in Arizona to place bets on sports matches. Currently, Arizona law restricts the amount of money an individual can wager on a single game. Individual wagering is currently illegal in Arizona even on minor online sports betting games. Many advocates of legalized sports betting hope that Representative Thompson’s bill will be able to gain enough support in the House to override the Senate’s previous refusal to legalize sports betting online.
Unfortunately, Representative Kenshield is part of a minority that still refuses to embrace legalized sports betting. His office has not responded to repeated requests for a comment on whether he supports legalizing sports betting in Arizona during the next legislative session. Other Arizona State Representatives also opposed legalized sports betting, and last year, several State Senator blamed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (SPPA) for the proliferation of sports betting across the state. SPPA, which is currently the law at the state level, makes it illegal to conduct an unfair trade or take advantage of someone else’s lack of knowledge or skill at gambling.
According to proponents of legalized sports betting, a change in state law should allow Arizona residents to enjoy the benefits of online gambling without any repercussions. Proponents of legalizing sports betting in Arizona argue that existing gambling laws are already difficult to enforce. They point out that in addition to the UCC and the Real Estate Commissions, Arizona law makes it illegal to transfer money or property to an individual involved in gambling, whether that gambling is conducted online or at a brick and mortar casino. These laws make it difficult for states like Arizona to properly regulate online gambling, thus creating a loophole that enables states like Arizona to prohibit online sports betting.
Opponents of legalized sports betting argue that allowing online gamblers to take part in state-sanctioned gaming events would create problems for Arizona’s already struggling tribal casinos. The Arizona State Athletic Commission, which is responsible for regulating sports betting across the state, has received several complaints from the Arizona Native American tribes about the lack of regulation and involvement from the government. These groups argue that allowing non-Indian gamblers into their casinos would violate the tribal casinos’ right to keep gambling under their control. Furthermore, many tribal casinos have complained that the new laws go against the spirit of the law as they are not receiving any benefit from the legalized sports betting on the part of the states.
Should Arizona residents be allowed to place bets on baseball, basketball, and football games using an Internet connection? According to the opponents of legalized sports betting in Arizona, the answer is yes. Several state representatives have introduced legislation to legalize sports betting at state-approved establishments, like Arizona sportsbooks. However, despite claims by some politicians that legalizing sports betting would help Arizona bring in more tourists and contribute to more revenue for Arizona, no concrete plans have been made. If the proposal made by Arizona state representatives were to become a reality, it could be a big boost to the state’s economy and a great opportunity for gamblers from outside the state to make a profit betting on sports in Arizona.
Although it may seem unlikely, legalized sports betting would indeed have a significant impact on Arizona’s economy. In the last year alone, the annual revenue generated by Arizona sportsbooks has more than doubled. However, some economists say that legalizing sports betting would actually have a negative impact on the state’s economy. For the time being, the question remains open.