Arizona governor signs bill to legalise sports betting

By Peter Lynch

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has signed a bill to legalise sports betting.

The measure will allow sports betting under licences issued to tribes and professional sports teams, as well as gambling on fantasy sports and new Keno games at horse race tracks and fraternal organisations.

The bill will allow as many as four new casinos in the metro Phoenix area, but documents suggest that only two will be built in the near future. The venues will be on Tohono O’Odham Nation land in the west of the metro area, and on Gila River Indian Community holdings in the southeastern area.

Furthermore, 11 new casinos are allowed across the state, but only four of which are permitted to open in the first ten years.

“There’s no question that Arizona has grown and changed significantly since the last major compact update in 2003,” said Ducey. “It’s important that we account for these changes in our policies and our compacts.”

Tribes meanwhile would get ten licences and would be allowed to run sportsbooks at 24 tribal casinos statewide, with options for online gambling also set to be in the offing. Tribes will also be given the right to operate over 6,000 new slot machines, plus a boost every two years once the new deals are formally approved by the federal government.

Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis of the Gila River Indian Community commented: “We argued before we agreed. And we fought before we found our middle ground. But here we are today, celebrating the most unique unicorn in political life: a genuine win for us all.”

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