Arizona is pushing hard to get sports betting legalized in the state and things are going rather smooth as of now. It has only been a month since the initial bills for sports betting legalization was introduced at the state Senate.
However, it appears that SB 1797 was withdrawn from the Senate Appropriations Committee and HB 2772 is the one that could be put to a vote on April 12. If the bill gets a majority vote, it will then move forward for the governor to sign it and make it official
The Arizona House of Representatives passed HB2772 on March 4, with 48 votes for and 12 votes against.
This was after the bill was merged with another more controversial horse-racing bill so that it would be more acceptable. The merging of the two bills slowed things down and it initially looked like that it would hit a roadblock. Shope said that there were issues initially because some thought that the merging would be against a previous 2002 gaming agreement with the native tribes in Arizona.
Thankfully, it was cleared up when Appropriations Chair Sen. David Gowan decided strip out the horse racing bill. According to Shope, while the horse racing bill was not passed, there will be some funds from the sports betting market going to the horse racing industry.
Shope is quite confident that the sports betting bill will get enough support this week. If the bill gets the necessary votes on April 12, they will then have to get approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. This is expected to be more of a formality and hence the Governor could sign the sports betting bill into existence before the end of April 17.
The approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs is considered a formality because the tribes already voiced their support, with tribal leaders speaking in support of the legislation. The bill will give the tribes 10 sports betting licenses while the state will have another 10 sports betting licenses. These betting licenses will be tied to professional sports teams.
Governor Ducey has backed sports betting and made his views clear in Jan 2021 during his state address. While there are dissenting votes, especially from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the bill will likely pass with overwhelming support.
If it does pass, one of the main goals is to increase state revenues. Projections show that Arizona could bring in over $42 million in annual taxes. That is a drop in the bucket to amount being bet illegally in Arizona, with experts saying the state is losing millions from an estimated $3 billion a year sports betting industry.