Analysis

Arizona gives the nod to tribal sports betting push

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has given the nod for a push to allow tribal sports betting after negotiating a “modernized compact.”

A document sent to lawmakers in Arizona’s state legislature would update the compacts to allow the tribes to offer sports betting.

This follows Gov. Doug Ducey’s State of the State speech in which he said that there was the “opportunity for a modernized gaming compact that will bring in more revenue for our tribal nations and our state budget.”

The 22-page legislative priorities document added that his office had negotiated for new forms of gambling to be allowed under the terms of the compact in a “limited and well-regulated” way.

This is the modern world

“The modernized compact will allow for growth to the overall gaming profile consistent with the growth the state has seen over the last 20 years, while allowing things like mobile devices to be used as part of the gaming experience moving forward,” Ducey wrote.

The current compacts have been up-and-running since 2002 and therefore are coming to the end of their span.

The state legislature will have to give the nod to any expansion of gambling.

Previous attempts in 2019 and 2020 to allow the tribes to offer sports betting failed to get sufficient support.

Lifestyle choices

Other obstacles to be overcome are federal statutes ordering all tribal gaming to take place on tribal lands. Mobile betting would clearly be an issue under any strict interpretation.

A spokesperson for the Governor told local media that the goal of the move was to “bring Arizona gaming into the 21st Century.”

“A lot has changed since the first compacts were signed, back when cellphones weren’t the thing they are now. 

“The world looks a lot different today and our proposal is intended to reflect the way people live their lives today.”

There are currently 26 tribes operating facilities in Arizona. Then there are also a handful of racetracks and off-track betting locations.

It is not known whether they would be included under any proposed legislation.

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Scott Longley

Scott Longley has been a journalist since the early noughties covering personal finance, sport and the gambling industry. He has worked for a number of publications including Investor's Week, Bloomberg Money, Football First, EGR and GamblingCompliance.com. He now writes for online and print titles across a wide range of sectors.

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