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Legal Sports Betting Moves to Senate in Arizona

Arizona sports betting legislation attempts have always disappointed residents of the state. Sports betting has appeared to be close to moving to the next step of the legislative process, but nothing has come to fruition. 

A significant step forward occurred on Thursday in the Arizona House of Representatives. 

The Latest Development

On Thursday, the Arizona House of Representatives passed HB 2772, which deals with sports betting in the state. The bill was read over three times in the Arizona House before Thursday’s vote.

A few amendments were made to the original bill, which seemed to delight representatives because a 48-12 vote passed HB 2772. HB 2772 will now move to the Arizona Senate in the next couple of days for more debates and a tentative vote.

Governor Doug Ducey has recently updated the gaming compact with the tribal nations in Arizona. This compact has not been released to the public, but it’s believed that HB 2772 could now become effective immediately if Governor Ducey signed it into law. 

This is because there was enough bipartisan support in the House to override the rest of the legislative process. Although, the bill will still move to the Senate before Governor Ducey has to utilize his power. 

Details of HB 2772

HB 2772 was created by Representative Jeff Weninger, who is a Republican. The bill would legalize widespread mobile sports betting and daily fantasy wagering. It would also allow Keno games at off-track betting sites and clubs like the American Legion, VFW, the Elks Club, and all other social gathering halls. 

The pro sports teams in Arizona have supported the bill. The Arizona Cardinals (NFL), Phoenix Suns (MLB), Arizona Coyotes (NHL), and the Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB) would all be able to offer retail sportsbooks at a location within a quarter-mile of their venues. 

Other sports organizations in Arizona, like the Phoenix Raceway and the PGA Tour, have favored sports betting because there is a chance that these locations could offer retail sportsbooks as well. Arizona has delegated ten betting licenses for sports organizations in the state. 

In addition to all these organizations, major betting platforms like DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM have all been campaigning to bring sports wagering to Arizona. 

The State’s Horse Racing Bill

In late February, the Senate merged a sports betting bill with horse racing legislation that was being negotiated in the legislature. This bill is still being discussed in the Senate. Governor Ducey has been trying to bring more sports wagering activities to the state because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Ducey suggested bringing horse racing tracks to Arizona. He believes new sports betting will help the state as well as the tribes. However, Arizona’s tribes do not want horse racing legalized in the state.

They believe that this addition to the state’s gaming industry will cause them to lose money, so a substantial negotiation process will most likely need to occur for horse tracks to come to Arizona. Horse racing could violate the new compact, so this may need to be amended as well.

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