This is our short Phoenix (AZ) online sports betting guide. Check the gambling sites, legal sportsbooks, mobile apps. Read about Arizona casinos, gambling locations in 2019/2020. Learn about top 10 Phoenix city casino, racetracks and sports betting destinations here.
Arizona really has a rich history. Once upon a time it was actually part of Mexico, and can also lay claim to being the home of 22 separate tribes. After WW2, the population has increased dramatically, and state residents can enjoy a lot of gambling opportunities, but only on Tribal lands. Outside of these areas, Arizonans’ options are restricted compared to many other states, although gambling for social and amusement reasons is allowed.
Indeed Arizona, and its biggest city Phoenix, have some strange contradictions in its gambling laws. Players can make their way to one of 20 tribal casinos and enjoy a multitude of casino games in luxurious surroundings – yet gambling on Fantasy Sports is deemed an illegal activity.
Here is the key definition of gambling from the statute books of Arizona:
“4. “Gambling ” or “gamble ” means one act of risking or giving something of value for the opportunity to obtain a benefit from a game or contest of chance or skill or a future contingent event…” (From 13-3301)
Note that ‘chance or skill’ is mentioned here in its broadest definition, which includes poker games and any sporting type events too. Arizona takes the ‘make it all illegal then give explicit exemptions’ method.
Players in Phoenix (AZ) can bet on horse racing and greyhounds though, but only at the track or other licensed locations. The tracks use the pari-mutuel (pooled) model and also offer simulcast races.
Will Phoenix legalize sports betting?
Sports betting could be available to Phoenix players going forward on machines at the local bar and at tribal casinos. This would certainly relax current legislation. Maybe in 2020 online sportsbooks will appear in the state as well.
The status quo of having gambling available yet tightly controlled has now been achieved in Arizona. There have been recent moves to stop the ‘Indian Monopoly’ on casinos, which might cause jobs to be created outside of the reservations in State casinos. These, however, have not made it past the initial discussion phase.
Phoenix Betting Overview
Phoenix (Arizona) currently doesn’t have legalized sports betting, although there does seem to be evidence of an appetite for it within the higher ranks of state government.
When news originally broke that the U.S. Supreme Court had overturned the anti-gambling law, among the first politicians to go public with his support for more widespread legalized sports betting was Arizona Governor Doug Ducey.
This is positive news. We have been working on a modernized gaming compact. This ruling gives Arizona options that could benefit our citizens and our general fund. https://t.co/pGUT6yC8tt— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) May 14, 2018
“This is positive news,” Ducey tweeted at the time. “We have been working on a modernized gaming compact. This ruling gives Arizona options that could benefit our citizens and our general fund.”
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich was another strong supporter of the decision, who’d actually helped in the fight to get the law overturned. He’d filed an amicus brief with the court arguing that the ban of sports betting was in violation of states’ rights.
Brnovich previously served as director of Arizona’s state Department of Gaming.
With all that being said, there still isn’t a blueprint in place to move the idea of legalized sports betting forward within the state.
In February of 2019, Republicans on the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to advance a bill introduced by Arizona state Senator Sonny Borrelli proposing that sports betting kiosks be placed in local bars and at tribal casinos.
The bill would allow tribes to set up and operate these sports betting kiosks in their casinos and also on site at bars outside their reservation land to accept bets on professional sports. The kiosks would be subject to the state amusement tax.
The only tribe to support the bill was a Navajo. The majority of tribes are against the plan and believe they should be allowed to negotiate a sports betting deal exclusively with the Governor’s Office, an idea that Ducey supports.
The Governor’s Office is currently negotiating with tribal leaders to renew, and possibly change the gaming compacts with certain tribes covering Class 3 games. Sports betting falls under this category, so tribal leaders believe any move to legalize sports should be part of the compact negotiations.
Legal or Not Legal To Bet Online in Phoenix?
Technically, online sports betting with an offshore sportsbook is illegal in Phoenix and the state of Arizona. Arizona law generally bans all forms of gambling. The exceptions to this law are the lottery, horse racing and tribal casinos. Social gambling between friends is legal, but any form of betting organized by a third party that takes a cut of the wagers is not allowable under state law.
However, there is no record of any person being prosecuted in Arizona for wagering via an offshore online sportsbook turfparadise.com. The only sport that it is currently legal to wager on in the state is horse racing. Turf Paradise has operated thoroughbred racing in Phoenix since 1956.
Mobile Betting Apps
Placing a wager via the mobile app of an online offshore sportsbook in Phoenix is also technically against the law. Again, no one has been charged for doing so.
Likewise, betting on sports at one of these offshore online virtual sports betting parlors is illegal in the eyes of the laws of the state. But Big Brother isn’t spending time chasing down the guy who’s just placed a spread wager on the Phoenix Suns to beat the Miami Heat through 888Sport.com.
Daily fantasy sports sites like DraftKings.com and FanDuel.com are illegal to play in Arizona.
Land-Based Casinos in Phoenix, AZ
There are 16 Arizona native tribes that operate 24 brick and mortar casinos within the state of Arizona. Another six have slot machine rights permitting them to lease the machines to other tribes with casinos.
The tribal casinos have been in operation within the state for three decades. According to the Arizona Department of Gaming annual report, in the last fiscal year those casinos generated a combined revenue of more than $1.9 billion. The casinos contributed $94 million to the Arizona general fund. Check playatgila.com/
The nearest casino to Phoenix is West Valley's Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino. It features over 900 slot machines, in excess of 30 oversized table games which include Blackjack, Pai Gow, and 3 Card,Spanish 21. As well, there are 16 tables in the casino’s poker room.
Top Local Sports Betting Blogs
With legalized sports betting still in the negotiating stage, demand for daily information on sports betting opportunities in Phoenix isn’t exactly at a fever pitch. Ccheck azcapitoltimes.com/
But for those that are interested in the ongoing developments, the local media is covering the process extensively.
Professional Teams to Bet on
Phoenix has come by many of its sports the same way it gains many of its residents – they moved there.
The Arizona Coyotes left Winnipeg in 1996 for the desert. The Arizona Cardinals arrived in town from St. Louis in 1988. The city’s MLB and NBA teams both came to be as expansion franchises.
Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB)
The Diamondbacks were awarded a National League expansion franchise in 1998. It didn’t take them long to become competitive. The qualified for postseason play in their second season and won the World Series in 2001, beating the New York Yankees via a Game 7, ninth-inning walkoff single by Luis Gonzalez.
The Diamondbacks became the first team from the state of Arizona to win a major North American pro sports championship.
Arizona Cardinals (NFL)
The Cardinals have led a vagabond existence. They were born as the Chicago Cardinals in 1920 and lived as a crosstown rival to the Bears until 1959, winning the franchise’s most recent NFL title in 1947.
In 1960, they became the St. Louis Cardinals and in 1988 continued their westward trek, landing in Phoenix. Even here, they would be rebranded. In 1994 they were renamed the Arizona Cardinals.
The Cardinals made their first appearance in the big game in Super Bowl XLIII, losing a heartbreaking 27-23 decision to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Curiously, in 1944, when World War II severely reduced the number of available football players, the Cardinals and Steelers merged that season into one team, known as Card-Pitt.
Phoenix Suns (NBA)
Lately, things haven’t come up roses for the Suns. They’ve missed the NBA playoffs in each of the past nine seasons. But for the longest time, the Suns rose among the best teams in the league.
Entering the NBA as an expansion club in 1968, Phoenix made the playoffs just once in the first seven seasons. The Suns didn’t win a postseason series until 1975-76 but liked it so much, they rolled all the way to the NBA Finals that spring before falling six games to the Boston Celtics. The Game 5 triple-overtime affair in that series is often called the greatest game in NBA history.
The Suns were also NBA finalists in 1992-93, losing that spring to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, also in six games. They’ve suited up three NBA MVPs over the years. Charles Barkley won the award in 1992-93 and Steve Nash captured back-to-back MVPs in 2004-05 and 2005-06.
Arizona Coyotes (NHL)
It’s hard to the opposite ends of the spectrum in which the Coyotes have existed. Originally the Winnipeg Jets, they came to be as an original WHA franchise in 1972 and joined the NHL in the NHL-WHA merger of 1979. In 1996, the Jets departed the cold Canadian prairies for the warmth of the Arizona desert.
From 1996-2014, they were the Phoenix Coyotes. They were then renamed the Arizona Coyotes. The team has never played in a Stanley Cup final. In 2012, the Coyotes lost to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference final.
Photo by Eric Donzella