Arizona Senate sends bill to legalize sports gambling to governor’s desk

Money Cash AP
Posted at 7:47 PM, Apr 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-13 15:19:59-04

Between $8.5 and $10 billion was legally bet on the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament this year. Next year, Arizona wants in on the action.

Governor Ducey is expected to sign SB1797, which was passed in the Senate Monday night, and would allow for 20 licenses to be distributed to groups that would be allowed to operate sports betting operations.

“I don’t think we’re talking about in the $10s of millions. We’re talking about in the $100s of millions,” says State Representative Jeff Weninger, (R) Chandler District 17.

Weninger says tribes in the state will vie for 10 sports betting licenses. The Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, and Arizona Coyotes will be granted licenses. So will the Phoenix Open and NASCAR.

“From our perspective, this is something we view as a way to engage additional fans,” Suns President Jason Rowley said.

In 2018 The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the law making it illegal to prevent states from allowing sports betting. Since then, 25 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico legalized it.

The governor’s office said online Monday that SB 1797 will “benefit Arizonans and tribal members across the state, and it will increase revenue for areas like education and conservation.”

Critics of the bill say the licenses will be too expensive for tribes to get their hands on, and question how the money the state receives from betting will actually be distributed.

DraftKings, a popular mobile app that lets sports fans bet on games from their phones, released the following to ABC15:

“We want to thank the Arizona Legislature, and in particular Representative Jeff Weninger and Senator Thomas “T.J.” Shope Jr., for passing HB 2772 that will bring sports betting, including mobile, and fantasy sports to Arizona, pending action from Governor Doug Ducey. We look forward to potentially introducing Arizona sports fans to our top-rated DraftKings’ DFS and mobile sportsbook products.”