Arizona State Senator Focused on Sports Betting

Summary: Arizona State Senator Sonny Borrelli sponsors sports betting legislation.

Sports betting is quickly gaining ground in the United States after the US Supreme Court rules that the Professional & Amateur Sports Protection Act is invalid. This Act kept most every state in the nation from offering sports betting services. Now, states are working to enact sports betting legislation, with some already having laws in place and offering services. In Arizona, State Senator Sonny Borrelli is ready to see the activity start, with a new bill having been introduced.

Show Me The Money

Senator Borrelli wants to see the money already begin spent on sports betting brought to his state. The senator is the sponsor of a new bill that would legalize the activity in Arizona. The bill would give Indian Tribes the right to set up kiosks for sports betting in casinos as well as bars in the state. The kiosks would be used to take sports bets from players.

The tribes would earn a cut of the profits while the state would benefit from a 6.7% entertainment tax. Bars that have the machines would be able to earn money as well by renting space for the kiosks to be housed. According to the senator, millions of dollars could be brought to the state.

Currently, casino gambling in the state is limited to tribal venues. There are 23 casinos in operation and they all are located on tribal lands. Law dictates how many slot machines a facility can have with gamblers having to be 21 years of age or older to take part. Such facilities would be able to offer sports betting based on the new bill along with bars in the state.

The problem is that the tribes have a monopoly for gaming right now and others want in. The tribal groups will not want to share their gaming revenues with non-tribal entities as this would decrease their revenues. Under state law, the tribes have exclusive rights for certain types of gambling games. If the state decides to allow non-tribal entities to offer sports betting, they could lose millions in revenues from the tribe.

Basics of Borrelli’s Bill

The new bill would create physical locations for sports betting. As mentioned, tribal casinos as well as facilities like bars that have a liquor license. Betting will not be allowed on college events and each of the 16 federally recognized Indian tribes in the state would be allowed to offer sports betting.

The regulator of the new industry would be the Arizona Department of Gaming. The group would work to ensure that the rules and regulations of the sports betting industry are being met. The bill does not include mobile or online sports betting at this time. And it does not cover an integrity fee.

Having the option to go mobile and online would certain provide additional revenues to the state. However, it seems that Borrelli is more concerned about sports betting coming to fruition rather than having additional elements.

It will be interesting to watch and see if the legislation is able to move forward as is or if other lawmakers will want to see the legislation amended in some way. It is possible that mobile or online gaming would be added as well as some way in which non-tribal entities can get in on the action.

We will just have to wait and see what happens with the legislation. It’s in the early stages and still has a way to go before it will make it to the Governor’s desk for consideration. Hopefully, the measure will move forward so the state can get started in this new and blossoming industry.


Logan is based in Los Angeles and is an avid poker player having played in tournaments across the globe. He covers both poker & regulatory affairs.