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New Arizona Bill Would Allow State Tribes to Operate Sports Betting Off-Reservation

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated October 14, 2022
11 min read
New Arizona Bill
  • Sen. Sally Ann Gonzales Filed SB 1674 Jan. 31 Giving Tribes Off-Reservation Options
  • Proposal Would Put Tribal Sportsbooks Closer to Arizona’s Big City Gambling Hotspots 
  • Arizona’s Sports Betting Market Launched Sept 2021, Already Taking in Millions

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Sen. Sally Ann Gonzales Filed SB 1674 Jan. 31 Giving Tribes Off-Reservation Options

The sports betting market in Arizona is almost four months old now and judging by the reported $1.2 billion handles that has been generated there already, Grand Canyon State bettors are enjoying their new access to legal sports gambling.

In an attempt to widen the state’s tribal influence on that growing market, Arizona Senator Sally Ann Gonzales has filed SB 1674, a piece of legislation that would allow the Copper State’s 23 federally recognized tribes to apply for a sports betting license and operate off-reservation retail and mobile sportsbooks.

Part of SB 1674 reads:

The event wagering facility may be located in retail or commercial space on land that is not identified as Indian land pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).

It’s no surprise that this tribal expansion issue is important to Sen. Gonzales who is currently a member of Arizona’s Pascua Yaqui Tribe as well a past member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribal Council, though that tribe is not one of the ten licensed by the state to operate online sports betting.

This off-reservation expansion is a big deal considering right now tribes must keep their sportsbooks on-reservation, and that prevents them from competing in the areas in the state where gambling is most prevalent.

Proposal Would Put Tribal Sportsbooks Closer to Arizona’s Big City Gambling Hotspots

If SB 1674 were to pass through Arizona’s congress and Governor Ducey signed it into law, a shift in the sports betting market dynamic would most likely take place given that the tribes would then be permitted to compete where they couldn’t before in Arizona’s gambling hotspots.

Those would be in its biggest cities – Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Glendale – close to where most of the state’s professional sports teams play, where gamblers are often placing in-person wagers on the live games that are happening in those stadiums and arenas.

If the tribes were allowed to set up in those areas, bettors would benefit from the competitive odds those new sportsbooks would be forced to offer, and that could help the state of Arizona and its residents by increasing the total handle and therefore the amount of tax revenue generated.

And from the looks of things so far, Arizona’s new sports betting market is a cash cow that will just keep on growing.

Arizona’s Sports Betting Market Launched Sept 2021, Already Taking in Millions

From the amount of money Arizona’s sports betting market has already generated, it is a surprise to learn that it has only been up and running since September 2021, its $1.2 billion handle a sign that resident bettors that will take full advantage of that now legal activity.

With an 8% tax rate on sportsbooks in play, Arizona is expected to take in an estimated $15 million each year, though that estimate could be low once all the sportsbooks’ freebies and discounts end and those customer-hunting tactics are no longer tax deductible.

We will keep an eye on how SB 1674 progresses in the upcoming weeks, so keep checking back for the latest news and updates on this ongoing story.

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Mike Lukas

1204 Articles

Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]

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