A bill was introduced in Arizona that would legalize sports betting. The bill which is known as SB 1525, would bring legal sports betting to the state through the tribes which have casinos as well as existing partnerships with various bars and liquor establishments. It is important to note that a voter referendum would be required to pass SB 1525.
Legal Sports Betting Would Be Run by Tribes
SB 1525 which was introduced to the Arizona state Senate last week, seeks to legalize sports gambling in the state. The bill would legalize wagers placed at retail sportsbooks which would be located at tribal casinos and bars. The tribes already have existing partnerships with local bars and the new bill would allow for sportsbooks at those existing casinos and bars by introducing sports betting kiosks.
There are always a lot of details to sort through whenever these bills are introduced and it usually begins with the tax rate. Arizona bill SB 1525 would tax sports betting at a rate of 6.75% which is very good when comparing it to the national average. As far as legal hurdles, there are quite a few still in the way before this bill can be signed into law.
SB 1525 Has Several Legal Hurdles to Overcome
While the idea of betting kiosks in the existing establishments that have deals with the tribes, there is still a federal law that would stand in the way. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) states that tribal gaming can only take place on tribal lands. This, of course, would extend to most of the bars and liquor establishments in Arizona where SB 1525 would have kiosks put in place.
How state lawmakers plan to get around this provision is anyone's guess but it is assumed that they will have to work closely with the National Indian Gaming Commission to figure out a viable solution. It would mean the difference between thousands of potential kiosks located across the state and sportsbooks being limited to the 24 tribal casinos only. This, of course, brings up another issue with SB 1525; mobile wagering.
Before we get into the mobile wagering aspect of SB 1525, there is yet another legal issue to overcome. In order for SB 1525 to be signed into law, a statewide referendum is needed which will not be an easy task.
Mobile Wagering Would Be Prohibited
As usual, one of the hot button topics with this bill is mobile/online wagering. SB 1525 does not allow for online wagering which we have seen time and again, will severely limit the potential of the sports betting market in the state. The thing is, with the market seemingly under the control of tribal interests, it was probably necessary for Senator Sonny Borrelli and Representative Steve Pierce, who are the sponsors of the bill, to include that provision. It does appear that the tribes would be able to offer those services via their sportsbooks and kiosks.
It's still too early to tell but it appears that this current bill is an improvement on SB 1158 which failed to pass last year. Borrelli and Pierce were involved in those efforts as well and they hope to work out the details so that they can launch legal sports betting sometime next year provided they satisfy local voters, lawmakers, and the tribes.