Arizona Senate Postpones Sports Betting Bill Debate

Phoenix – The debate for Senate Bill 1158, the one that would authorize sports wagering in Arizona, has been postponed by the Senate. On Thursday, the legislators determined revisions and amendments were needed on the bill before any vote could be held.

The bill was sponsored by Republican Senator Sonny Borrelli who gave his bill 80% odds of becoming law. But the next date of review has yet to be determined. As written, it would allow for sports gambling at local bars, tribal casinos, and other businesses, including off-track locations.

“I have to take the emergency clause off the bill to give the Department of Gaming enough time to come up with the rules to implement this game”

The emergency clause was put on the bill with the hopes of expediting the legalization process. It would have required a two-thirds vote from both the Senate and House as well as the governor’s signature. Upon Governor Doug Ducey agreeing to the terms, the bill would have become immediately effective.

Now, the vote only requires a majority in both houses but would have to wait 90 days after the end of the session to be enacted.

The two dozen tribal casinos in the state, operated by 16 different Arizona tribes, would see that same tax rate and agreements in their current compact. Borrelli’s bill does not modify the tribal compact but would count sports betting kiosks the same as the slot machine.

According to the Arizona Department of Gaming, the tribes currently have 15,000 machines in operation but are granted the ability to operate 18,158. The extra near 3,000 sports betting kiosks would allow for the tribes to provide many more tax contributions to the state. They are currently taxed at 1-8% on gaming revenue and the bill would keep everything status quo, as sports betting in Arizona would be taxed at 6.75%.

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