Gambling was illegal in Arizona until the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed in 1988, where casino gambling has expanded on tribal lands and hosts more than two dozen casinos. Over five million people live in Arizona, and their options for gambling are limited to tribal casinos, horse betting, and their official Arizona state lottery.
Casino gambling is regulated by the Arizona Tribal-State Gaming Compacts – which is run by the 21 Native American tribes. Revenue is used for tribal government and charity endeavors only. The two dozen casinos are spread across 26 cities throughout the state, with Tucson having the most casinos, including the largest casino within state lines.
The lottery is regulated by the Multi-State Lottery Association and includes games like MegaMillions, Powerball, Fantasy 5, All or Nothing, The Pick, Pick 3, Card Cash, and more. When it comes to horse racing at any of the three racetracks in Arizona, the Arizona Department of Racing is the head decision-maker.
While they’re a bit looser on gambling than other states that have gambling totally prohibited, one might think they would have jumped at the chance to legalize sports betting. The hold-up is a result of the tribal compacts they currently have in place that wouldn’t be in the state’s favor. The compacts would need to be reworked so the state will see the revenue to make legalizing betting in Arizona worthwhile.
While bills have popped up to legalize sports betting in Arizona, they have fizzled and lost their momentum. Currently, in April 2020, there are two bills that have the potential to legalize sports betting in Arizona by the end of the year. Bills HB 2813 and SB 1525 have the potential to make 2020 (or maybe 2021 due to likely COVID-19 delays) the year Arizona sports betting is legalized.
HB 2813 is a sports betting bill sponsored by Republican Senator Sonny Borrelli and Representative Stephen Pierce, which would straight up legalize sports betting, allowing horse racing tracks and tribal casinos to offer sports bets in Arizona. However, the AIGA (Arizona Indian Gaming Association) feels that if they were to offer sports betting, they shouldn’t need permission from the state, so they aren’t necessarily happy about this bill.
SB 1525 is essentially a copy of the 2019 bill that fizzled out - which doesn’t give us great hope for 2020’s version. Also sponsored by Borrelli and Pierce, whose goal is to offer legal sports betting at tribal casinos through sportsbooks and kiosks, and require a referendum to pass. The downside to this bill is that online sports betting would not be allowed online, so those who used an online sportsbook in the past would be prohibited to do so.
Can I bet on Sports in Arizona?
Currently, none of the casinos in the state are allowed to collect wagers on sports, unfortunately. Until the state figures out a way to rework the tribal pacts, pass one of those two bills listed above, and legalize sports betting in Arizona, sports betting is technically illegal.
Arizona residents are able to visit neighboring states that have legalized sports betting, or are able to sign up for an online sportsbook. Online sportsbooks are located offshore and are legal for Arizona sports bettors to use. Online sportsbooks like Bovada are trustworthy and secure, so you never have to worry about depositing money or collecting winnings.
The best part about online sportsbooks? You never have to leave the comfort of your home! You can bet from anywhere that has an internet connection. Most online sportsbooks are mobile-friendly and allow you to bet on live games and events.
Betting on Arizona Teams
Arizona hosts a team from each major sport, including the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB. Arizona residents are able to wager on their hometown team online at a sportsbook, though sometimes it can be a conflict of interest to wager on your favorite team!
The Arizona Cardinals are probably the state’s most popular team. They’ve made four playoff appearances since joining the league in 1988. They have yet to win a Super Bowl, the closest they’ve come is Super Bowl XLIII, where they lost to the Steelers by four.
The Phoenix Suns is the state’s resident NBA team. They’ve won two conference titles but have never won the NBA Final. They haven’t made the playoffs in decades, so they aren’t the state’s pride and joy, but betting on them would be interesting – if you bet for the other team.
The Arizona Diamondbacks, have been in the MLB for 20 years, won their first and only World Series in 2001, not long after their inaugural season. They are the only current major sports team in Arizona with a championship – but that was 18 years ago.
The former Winnipeg Jets of the NHL moved to Arizona in 1996 and changed their name to the Phoenix Coyotes. While it seemed for years that the team would fold or be relocated again, they changed their name to Arizona Coyotes in 2014. They have never won a Stanley Cup, but have won their division title in 2011. Betting on the NHL isn’t overly popular, so it’s not a surprise that Arizona sports bettors aren’t placing bets on the Coyotes.
Best Online Sportsbooks for Arizona Sports Betting
Since we are waiting on the legalization of sports betting in Arizona, the only option available is betting online. Sports bettors can sign up at offshore sportsbooks to get in on the action, where there are countless online sportsbooks to choose from.
Many claim to be the best, so be sure to do your research and read plenty of online sportsbook reviews and ask professional or intermediate sports bettors which ones they prefer, as they will have tried many online sportsbooks in their career. As of right now, no online sportsbooks are banned in Arizona, so you can sign up for any US-facing sportsbooks like Bovada or BetOnline.
Ensure you select a safe and secure sportsbook, with plenty of betting options, bonuses, and your preferred deposit method before signing up.
Let's have a look at the full list of available Arizona casinos:
- Apache Gold Casino Resort in Gila County, Arizona
- Apache Sky Casino in Pinal County, Arizona
- BlueWater Resort and Casino in La Paz County, Arizona
- Bucky's Casino in Yavapai County, Arizona
- Casino Arizona in Maricopa County, Arizona
- Casino del Sol in Pima County, Arizona
- Casino of the Sun in Pima County, Arizona
- Cliff Castle Casino in Yavapai County, Arizona
- Cocopah Resort Casino in Yuma County, Arizona
- Desert Diamond Casino in Pima County, Arizona
- Desert Diamond Casino Sahuarita, in Pima County, Arizona
- Desert Diamond Casino West Valley, in Maricopa County, Arizona
- Desert Diamond Hotel and Casino, in Pima County, Arizona
- Fort McDowell Casino in Maricopa County, Arizona
- Harrah's Ak-Chin Casino, in Pinal County, Arizona
- Hon-Dah Resort Casino, in Navajo County, Arizona
- Lone Butte Casino, in Maricopa County, Arizona
- Mazatzal Casino, in Gila County, Arizona
- Paradise Casino, in Yuma County, Arizona
- Spirit Mountain Casino, in Yuma County, Arizona
- Talking Stick Resort, in Maricopa County, Arizona
- Twin Arrows Casino Resort, in Coconino County, Arizona
- Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino, in Maricopa County, Arizona
- Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino, in Maricopa County, Arizona
- Yavapai Casino, Yavapai County, Arizona