A big hurdle has been cleared for the planned launch of legal Arizona sportsbooks. The US Department of Interior recently announced that it has formally approved an amended Arizona state-tribal gaming compact.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed off on the new compact on April 15. The formal process for federal approval can last up to 45 days. The US Interior’s Office of Indian Gaming (OIG) was able to expedite the process in an effort to speed things along.
This is a historic day for tribal nations, their communities, and the entire state of Arizona — and I’m proud to sign a gaming compact amendment and associated legislation that will benefit people in every corner of our state. pic.twitter.com/IRItXNn5PI— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) April 15, 2021
The governor reached an agreement with state tribal leaders on an updated compact that included the addition of legal sports betting as well as daily fantasy sports (DFS) contests. With the early approval, the state is still on track to go live in time for the start of the new NFL and college football season in early September.
At the present time, the OIG is also reviewing amended compacts between states and tribes to hopefully create Connecticut sportsbooks and Florida sportsbooks; with each of those compacts including provisions for legal sports betting.
The Arizona Cardinals will open their 2021 schedule on Sept. 12 with a road game against the Tennessee Titans, so the clock is ticking for state regulators to meet that set deadline.
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Gov. Ducey added the following comments in an official news release:
He went on to say:
The tribal-state gaming compact amendment, along with its associated legislation, was the culmination of a multi-year process and I was proud to work with all the stakeholders on this historic accomplishment. The tribal-state gaming compact and its associated legislation now is officially in effect – thank you to everyone who worked to make this happen.
Arizona House Bill 2772 was sponsored by state Rep. Jeff Weninger. This legislation was formed around a negotiated compromise in the amended gaming compact. The bigger goal beyond the addition of legal sports betting was to modernize the agreement that was previously in place.
The overall process goes back five years with ongoing negotiations between the state and participating tribes. The net effect is that gaming in Arizona remains both regulated and limited in its scale. This protects the interests of both the state and the gaming tribes.
During the federal approval process, the Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) has been working on a first draft of the regulations and rules tied to legal sports betting and DFS contests.
Once the ADG draft is completed, there is a 60-day timeframe for feedback from industry stakeholders. Following that part of the process, the ADG will finalize the drafted rules and post them for public comment.
Upon completion of this final approval process, sports betting and DFS contents should be operational.
Under Arizona law and the amended state-tribal compact, state gaming tribes will receive 10 sports betting licenses. Another 10 licenses have been earmarked for in-state professional sports teams. Both land-based retail sportsbooks and online sports betting through the use of mobile apps have been approved.