For decades, one of the most popular forms of gambling in the state of Arizona was greyhound and horse racing. Betting on the runners was legal since the 1950s, and the Arizona Racing Commission was even formed in 1958 for the proper regulation of the activity.
Parimutuel betting was the order of the day, and off-track betting was later introduced as well. To further advance the racing industry, in 2014, Janice Brewer, the then Governor of Arizona signed a bill that allowed ADW (Advanced Deposit Wagering) into law. Locals could now place wagers from the comfort of their homes without having to go to the stables.
Back to off-track betting, Arizona has one of the largest numbers of OTB facilities in the USA. Players can place wagers on the ponies from a range of locations, including hotels, restaurants, sports bars, and even bowling alleys.
What is the Current State of Sports Betting in Arizona?
Thanks to Arizona Tribal-State Gaming Compacts with the local Native American tribes, tribal gaming holds a monopoly over gambling products in the state. Even after the Professional and Amateur Act of 1992 was repealed by the Supreme Court on May 14, 2018, very little progress has been made to expand the sports betting industry in the state.
However, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel for sports fans after a bill was introduced to legalize sports betting but only on tribal land in January of 2019. SB1158 if passed, would give every federally recognized Indian tribe with a tribal-state gaming compact authority to operate sports betting kiosks. This meant that tribal casinos would be the only entities that would be allowed to open sportsbooks to the residents of Arizona.
Unfortunately, up until January 2020, the bill is yet to bear fruition because only one tribe out of the 22 federally recognized Arizona tribes support the bill. Most of the tribes are adamant about supporting the bill because they feel that legalizing sports betting will water down the casino revenue that they are already enjoying. However this changed in 2021 and legal and licensed online sports betting in Arizona is now a reality on top the pre-existing land-based tribal casinos.
Interactive Sports Betting in Arizona
Because the ability to place wagers online did not exist by the time of signing state-tribal compacts on tribal gaming, interactive gambling remained a grey area as it did in many other states as well. Thankfully, pari-mutuel online betting on horse and greyhound races was allowed on sites like BetAmerica, TVG and Twinspires. However, there was a time around the 2010s when the online horse and greyhound racing platforms left Arizona, but they came back in January 2015.
Online sports betting is now allowed in the state of Arizona. After tough negotiations the state have authorized the same provided sports betting online that it occurs on tribal land.