Sen. Sonny Borrelli and Rep. Steve Pierce of Arizona introduced a new bill in the Arizona Senate that will allow the legalization of sports betting in the state. The new bill will allow local tribes in the state to start sportsbooks and sports betting kiosks within their casinos. It would also allow wagering at entertainment facilities owned by local tribes.
Trying once again
Sen. Borrelli and Rep. Pierce sponsored the original SB 1158 last year, which proposed similar changes in the state. However, the bill didn’t move further from the second reading. The latest bill, SB 1525, will need to go through the state legislature and then get voter approval via a referendum to become a law and make sports betting legal in the state.
However, the bill may have to go through several issues, considering it has language that will conflict with the tribal gaming rules. It allows the tribes to offer sports betting within their facilities as well as of their reservation.
The bill states,
“An Indian tribe that is authorized to operate sports betting pursuant to this section may operate sports betting through kiosks or similar machines that are located at one or more premises that have a bar license, a beer and wine bar license or a private club license that is issued pursuant title 4 and may enter into a lease or rental agreement for the purpose of operating sports betting with a person that holds a bar license, a beer and wine bar license or a private club license.”
Can the bill pass this time?
The part of the bill that deals with tribal gaming can be struck down. Federal laws suggest that tribal gaming can only be conducted on lands given to the tribes or within a federal trust. Last year, a Congressman from New York introduced a federal bill to help clarify some issues related to tribal sports betting. However, the National Indian Gaming Commission didn’t respond to the calls.
The bill also states that it would not allow betting on all college sports on events prohibited by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). However, the NCAA doesn’t hold any legal authority to bar operators from bar any sporting events or operators. It would be important to check if the wagering ban can apply to the University of Arizona and Arizona State games.
Another big problem with the bill is that it doesn’t allow mobile gaming. It focuses extensively on allowing the 24 tribal gaming properties the agency to run sports betting via retail sportsbook.