Can you legally bet on sports online in Arizona?

Following the Supreme Court decision on May 14, 2018 that struck down the federal ban on sports betting (PASPA), states can legalize sports betting with legislative approval.

Arizona has proposed a significant bill early in 2019 that would bring legal sports betting to the state potentially in 2020. The Arizona Department of Gaming would regulate and oversee the industry, and adults age 21 and over could bet on sports like football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, tennis, boxing and other types of sporting events.

Legislation updates on online sports betting in Arizona

Senate Bill SB 1158 was filed in January, 2019 and proposed bill would legalize sports betting under tribal operation. There are 24 tribal casinos in Arizona, and the bill proposes the state’s gaming tribes to offer sports betting within those casinos.

The proposed bill also includes sports betting through kiosks inside bars and other approved establishments that serve liquor. That includes lounges like those at Sky Harbor International airport in Phoenix.

Arizona law does not allow for daily fantasy sports, and any law proposed for sports betting needs tribal approval.

A new opinion from the US Department of Justice broadens its interpretation of the Wire Act to cover internet gambling. The implications on the industry remain unclear pending a set of enforcement guidelines from the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). The OLC’s updated interpretation no longer believes that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting.

The issue now is that there is no longer any clarity about which forms of online gaming are legal and which are not.

Residents of Arizona may visit legally sanctioned, US-friendly online sportsbooks that operate offshore or outside the United States. Offshore sports betting is considered legal in most states because licensed offshore sportsbooks are located outside the jurisdiction of the US federal laws. A majority of online sports betting sites and offshore sportsbooks set the minimum age at 21 years old.

There is no legal punishment betting illegally offshore or at sites not based in the U.S. However, playing underage in the U.S. could result in the site confiscating funds in the account and not paying out winnings.

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