- Newly Introduced Bill Would Expand Sports Betting Licenses for Federally Recognized Arizona Native Tribes
- Bill would expand licenses for tribes 10 to 23
- Tribes would be able to offer retail sports betting on tribal land in some cases
A newly introduced bill will increase the number of Arizona sports betting licenses for Native tribes if approved in the state.
Senator Sally Ann Gonzales (D-Tucson) introduced Bill SB 1674 in the Senate. The bill, which has been referred to the Senate Rules Committee, would increase the number of sports betting licenses for Arizona tribes from 10 to 23, one available for each of the recognized state tribes.
23 sports betting licenses in total for the tribes of Arizona
“The Department may issue no more than 23 Event Wagering Operator Licenses to Indian Tribes in this State, one to each federally recognized Indian Tribe, if the Indian Tribe receiving a license has signed the most recent Tribal Gaming Covenant and any applicable schedules or annexes. amendments,” reads the bill.
The original sports betting bill, passed in 2021, allowed 10 sports betting licenses for Indian tribes and 10 for state professional sports organizations. Sports betting began in Arizona in September 2021 and has since brought in nearly $1.2 billion in wagers, according to the Arizona Department of Gaming.
In November, the state took in more than $466 million in sports betting. This resulted in a $3.1 million lien charge for Arizona.
These 10 tribes have obtained licenses and have the following sports partnerships:
- Ak-Chin Indian Community (Fubo Gaming)
- Tonto Apache Tribe (Churchill Downs)
- Paiute Tribe of Southern San Juan (Betway)
- ft. Nation McDowell Yavapai (BetFred)
- Hualapai Tribe (Gold Nugget)
- Navajo Nation (Hard Rock Sportsbook)
- Tohono O’odham Nation (Desert Diamond)
- Quechan Tribe (Unibet Arizona)
- San Carlos Apache Tribe (WynnBet)
The Colorado River Indian Tribe, White Mountain Apache Tribe, and Yavapai-Apache Nation were among the first 16 tribes that applied for the initial 10 licenses. The approval of the bill would offer them new hope to enter the sports betting industry in Arizona.
Sports betting on Tribal Land
In addition to additional licenses, Gonzales’ bill would allow Indian tribes to operate retail sportsbooks on tribal lands. The bill will allow tribes to operate retail sportsbooks within five blocks of an Arizona professional sports facility or complex.
“An Indian tribe, or an entity wholly owned by an Indian tribe, or its agent under contract to operate event betting for retail event betting within five blocks of a sports facility or ‘a sports complex and betting on mobile events throughout the state,’ the bill reads.
The bill must be approved by both the Arizona House and Senate and be signed by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey before it can become law.
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