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Gamble on, Arizona! It’s Time to Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

By Julianna Danza

You can now feel the rush and excitement of placing bets on your favorite sports teams in the comfort of your home, gym or favorite coffee shop using mobile sports betting. With the start of the NFL season, Arizona is just in time – risky gamblers are ready to watch snapping footballs and touchdowns make them money. 

In 2018, the Supreme Court’s decision in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association paved the way for any state that wishes to legalize sports gambling.[1] Fast forward to 2021, Arizona is now one of twenty-five states, plus the District of Columbia, to allow sports gambling at select sporting venues and online platforms thanks to House Bill 2772.[2] This Bill allows Arizona to have available twenty sports betting licenses and mobile sports betting.[3] Sports gambling has been on the minds of Arizona fans because Phoenix is a major hub in the sports industry home to the Diamondbacks, Suns, Cardinals, Coyotes, and Cactus League Spring Training. With various major sports teams at the heart of Arizona, the city of Phoenix is a vibrant market for sports betting.[4] This vibrancy will be on display in 2023 as Phoenix is hosting Super Bowl LVII.[5] 

On September 9, 2021, sports betting in Arizona became official as gamblers placed their first bets of the season.[6] However, not everyone is happy about the decision.[7] The Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe attempted to block sports betting legalization in Arizona, yet the attempt was unsuccessful.[8] The Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe argued that the new sports gambling laws violate Proposition 202, which allows for continuation of regulated gambling on Indian lands and that legalization of sports gambling would have a negative effect on tribal businesses.[9] Although the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe brought these claims, the court ultimately refused to issue an injunction barring sports gambling in Arizona.[10]

On top of tribal conflicts, there are other groups challenging the new sports gambling laws. Arizona only awarded twenty sports betting licenses; so, some venues did not receive a license, thereby losing out on millions of dollars.[11] Not surprisingly, those who did not receive a license might file suit in the future. With lawsuits on the horizon, sports betting has a long road ahead until it is conflict-free. In fact, the transition from no sports gambling to legalizing sports gambling is a radical shift because the NBA and NFL once said that sports gambling threatened the integrity of the game.[12] However, in light of COVID-19 – a time when fans couldn’t enjoy the games from the sideline – sports leagues have embraced the idea of sports gambling, because fans now have the chance to be involved and it lessens the gap of revenue loss due to COVID-19.[13] 

Legalized sports gambling not only changed the game of the sports gambling in Arizona, but it also urged other states to follow suit, such as Louisiana and Florida. Louisiana is now prepared to launch sports betting in October.[14] One exciting development in Louisiana that takes sports gambling to another level is gambling in bars and restaurants via kiosks.[15] Louisiana is set to launch kiosk gambling in bars early next year, for which business owners are especially supportive due to the potential increase in customers.[16] The concern surrounding family-friendliness is lower at bars than at sporting venues, thus, bars are the optimal locations for gamblers to place their bets.[17]

Furthermore, in Florida, there have been several legal hurdles to official adoption of sports betting.[18] The most recent obstacle to legalization is rooted in the monopoly the Seminole Tribe will have with the new gaming compact.[19] The compact with the Seminole Tribe was approved in August, which allows the Seminole Tribe to operate sports betting.[20] This compact is being challenged by businessmen who argue that the agreement illegally expands sports betting in the state.[21] Because of this lawsuit, Florida is looking at a delay in launching until the lawsuit is resolved.[22] 

All encompassing, sports betting is vastly growing, and all states want a piece of the sports gambling pie. Through the power of sports gambling, states are bringing in revenue and adding an extra element to watching sports that goes one step further in creating an environment mixed with team spirit, fanship, and peanuts.


[1] Landmark U.S. Supreme Court Decision Paves the Way for Legalized Sports Betting, Archer (May, 2018), https://www.archerlaw.com/landmark-u-s-supreme-court-decision-paves-the-way-for-legalized-sports-betting/.

[2] Claire Cornelius & Nick Zeller-Singh, Pick’em: Sport Gambling in Arizona Underway and Options Are Plentiful, Cronkite News (Sep. 9, 2021), https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2021/09/09/pickem-sport-gambling-in-arizona-underway-and-options-are-plentiful/.

[3] Pat Evans, Arizona Sports Betting Becomes Legal in Landmark Bill for Tribal Casinos, Legal Sports Report (April 15, 2021), https://www.legalsportsreport.com/50561/ducey-signs-arizona-sports-betting-bill/.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Jerry Walker, Game on: Judge Refuses to Block New Arizona Sports Betting Law, Cronkite News (Sep. 7, 2021), https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2021/09/07/judge-refuses-to-block-new-arizona-sports-betting-law/.

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Id.

[10] Id.

[11] Arizona Grants Sports Betting Licenses to 10 Tribes and 8 Sports Teams, Yogonet Gaming News (Oct. 01, 2021), https://www.yogonet.com/international/noticias/2021/08/30/59039-arizona-grants-sports-betting-licenses-to-10-tribes-and-8-sports-teams.

[12] Id.

[13] Id.

[14] Louisiana On Track to Launch Sports Betting in October, Mobile Wagering to Wait, Yogonet Gaming News(Sep. 30, 2021), https://www.yogonet.com/international/noticias/2021/09/27/59466-louisiana-on-track-to-launch-sports-betting-in-october-mobile-wagering-to-wait.

[15] Id.

[16] Id.

[17] Id.

[18] Ryan Butler, Sports Betting Launches: Connecticut, Florida, 2 Other States Take Steps Forward, Action (Sep. 17, 2021), https://www.actionnetwork.com/legal-online-sports-betting/sports-betting-launches-connecticut-florida-2-other-states-take-steps-forward.

[19] Adam Walser, Legal Sports Betting in Florida Could Be Underway This Football Season, Abc Action News (Sep. 15, 2021), https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/local-news/i-team-investigates/legal-sports-betting-in-florida-could-be-underway-this-football-season.

[20] Id.

[21] Id.

[22] Butler, supra note 18.