Arizona Sports Betting Expansion Bill Making its Way Through Legislature

Arizona Sports Betting Expansion Bill Making its Way Through Legislature

By Christopher Boan

A bill introduced by Tucson Senator Sally Ann Gonzales aims to more than double the number of Arizona betting apps licenses for the state’s tribes.

Under Senate Bill 1674, the number of licenses available to tribes would go from the 10 that were allocated under the 2021 Gaming Compact to 22 — giving each of Arizona’s federally recognized tribes the right to offer mobile sports betting.

Gonzales told BetArizona.com on Tuesday the legislation is vitally important, as it gives tribes a chance at reaching the type of licensing parity Arizona’s professional sports teams received when licenses were given out in August.

“The motivation (for SB-1674) is the way the licenses were issued last session, with (H.B. 1772),” Gonzales told BetArizona.com. “The legislation that went through last year was, to me, unfair. And so, this bill is an amendment that aims at reintroducing a fairer way of issuing these commercial licenses in the state of Arizona.”

Helping Arizona Tribes Reclaim What’s Theirs

Gonzales, who is a member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribal Council, said her bill clears the way for tribes that were denied the right to Arizona sports betting licenses in 2021 to gain market access.

The legislation was referred to the Arizona Senate’s Rules and Commerce committees Feb. 2 and received its second reading Feb. 3, with no updates since then.

The District 3 Democrat is confident SB-1674 would allow the state’s tribes to regain the right to gambling exclusivity that Arizona’s Indian Gaming Compact of 2003 established.

Gonzales cited the fact only 46% (10 of 22) of tribes received mobile sports betting licenses, versus 125% of sports teams (10 licenses for eight teams) as proof the 2021 compact was unfair.

“This bill will allow the tribes to each have a license, and I think it goes a long way toward establishing a more equitable (sports betting) marketplace,” Gonzales said. “With the legislation last year, the Indian tribes have lost exclusivity on gaming in Arizona. And so, this will allow the tribes to each have a license.”

The Pascua Yaqui Tribe declined to comment on SB-1674 and whether the tribe and its Casino Del Sol property would pursue a mobile sports betting license should the opportunity become available.

The tribe launched a retail sportsbook at the casino, located on the southern edge of Tucson, on Nov. 18. The tribe teamed with Scientific Gaming on the facility, dubbed SolSports, which features 4,000-square-feet of space, more than 60 televisions, six ticket counters and eight self-service betting kiosks.

For Gonzales, the ability to offer all forms of sports betting is crucial for the Pascua Yaqui, as it allows them to generate additional revenue from their primary source of income, which is gaming.

She hopes SB-1674 will clear a way for tribes that applied and were denied mobile sports betting licenses. Yavapai Apache Nation (PointsBet), Colorado River Indian Tribes (BlueBet), and White Mountain Apache Tribe (MaximBet) had partnered with mobile sports betting companies before being denied licenses by the ADG.

“These tribes are paying the same amount (as professional sports teams), but they do not have the same rights or the ability to compete in commercial gaming, off reservation,” Gonzales said.

Who’s Licensed to Operate in Arizona?

A total of 18 operators were licensed by the Arizona Department of Gaming in August, split between 10 tribes and eight professional sports teams.

Tribes that are part of the 2021 compact can conduct retail sportsbook operations on tribal grounds without a license. In January, the ADG awarded Phoenix’s Turf Paradise Racing a limited sports betting license, which will allow the track to open a retail sportsbook.

Mobile Sports Betting Licensees
  • Ak-Chin Indian Community (Fubo Gaming)*
  • Arizona Cardinals (BetMGM Arizona)*
  • Arizona Coyotes (SaharaBets)*
  • Arizona Diamondbacks (Caesars Sportsbook Arizona)*
  • Arizona Rattlers (BetRivers Arizona)*
  • Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation (Betfred Arizona)
  • Fort Mohave Indian Tribe (SuperBook Sports)*
  • Fort Yuma-Quechan Tribe (Unibet Arizona)*
  • Hualapai Tribe (Golden Nugget)
  • Navajo Nation (Hard Rock Sportsbook)
  • Phoenix Mercury (Bally’s Sports Arizona)
  • Phoenix Speedway (Penn National Interactive/Barstool Sports)*
  • Phoenix Suns (FanDuel Sportsbook Arizona)*
  • San Carlos Apache Tribe (WynnBET Arizona)*
  • San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe (Digital Gaming)
  • Tohono O’odham Nation (Kambi Group)
  • Tonto Apache Tribe (TwinSpires Sportsbook Arizona)*
  • TPC Scottsdale (DraftKings Sportsbook Arizona)*
Tribal Retail Sportsbooks
  • Ak-Chin Indian Community (Caesars Sportsbook)*
  • Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation (Betfred Arizona)*
  • Fort Mohave Indian Tribe (BetMGM)*
  • Fort Yuma-Quechan Tribe (Unibet)*
  • Gila River Indian Community (BetMGM Arizona)*
  • Pascua Yaqui Tribe (Scientific Gaming)*
  • Tohono O’odham Nation (Kambi Group)*
  • Tonto Apache Tribe (TwinSpires Sportsbook Arizona)*
  • Yavapai-Apache Nation (IGT PlaySports)*
Non-tribal Retail Sportsbooks
  • Arizona Cardinals (BetMGM Arizona)
  • Arizona Coyotes (SaharaBets)
  • Arizona Diamondbacks (Caesars Sportsbook Arizona)*
  • Arizona Rattlers (BetRivers Arizona)
  • Phoenix Mercury (Bally's Sports Arizona)
  • Phoenix Speedway (Penn National Interactive/Barstool Sports)
  • Phoenix Suns (FanDuel Sportsbook Arizona)*
  • TPC Scottsdale (DraftKings Sportsbook Arizona)
Limited License Sportsbooks
  • Turf Paradise (TBA)

* – Have launched operations

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WRITTEN BY
BetArizona.com
Christopher Boan
Christopher Boan is the lead writer at BetArizona.com after covering sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.
... Read More
Christopher Boan is the lead writer at BetArizona.com after covering sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.
... Read More