Big Gambling Expansion Expected in Arizona as Bill Heads to Governor’s Desk

In Arizona, a measure was recently approved that will see big changes occur in the state’s gambling industry. Governor Doug Ducey is expected to sign the measure into law, allowing for sports betting operations, daily fantasy sports, and new casino gaming option. The expansion moves past the tribal-only operations and allows others to get in on the sports betting action, something new for the state. The expansion will be the largest that Arizona has seen in a 20-year time frame.

The Expansion

The governor was able to negotiate with the tribes of the state and create a package that everyone seems to be in agreement with. The bill passed within the House and then was approved in the Senate this week. Now, only the governor’s signature is needed to get the ball rolling on the expansion process.

The legislation helps the state to start offering gambling options via entities that are not tribal operated. Up to 10 licenses can be obtained by professional sports leagues in the state. This includes local MLB and NHL teams, as well as the PGA Tour and NASCAR.

Sports betting licensing is also available to Native American tribes. Up to ten licenses can be used by the tribes after negotiations took place with the governor in secret. The tribes agreed to the sports teams offering services due to the fact that they can provide sports betting as well, plus add to their blackjack and poker offering with the launch of craps and baccarat in casinos.

New regulations will also be put in place for the state to offer fantasy sports games. Certain venues will also be able to launch keno games that will be offered by the state lottery.

What We Don’t Know

The negotiations between the governor and the tribes were completed in private. There is still a lot about the compact that the public is unaware of. How much revenue the state will be provided from gaming remains unknown.

The tax rate is also undecided or just unknown at this time. Ducey will appoint agency directors who will decide the tax rate set for non-tribal gambling operator revenue. The fee amount for the gambling licensing obtained by sports teams also remains unknown.

The gambling-expansion also does not list specific uses for the new tax revenues. Because of this, we don’t know how much to expect from revenues as well as where the funds will go. It is expected that the industry will bring in a large amount of new revenues. It will be interesting to see where officials decide to use it and if it will truly be beneficial to the people of the state.

The new legislation will take effect once the tribes that have casinos in Pima County and Phoenix County approve the new gambling compact. The compact also has to be approved by federal authorities to become valid. As of right now, it is unclear as to how quickly the process will move forward once the governor adds his name to the measure.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.