Arizona Gambling Laws: Casinos, Sports, Racing & Online
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Whether you’re a resident or a visitor to the valley of the sun, Phoenix has a lot of recreational gambling options for you. However, Arizona is still fairly strict when it comes to their gambling laws. And as a criminal defense law firm in Arizona, we recommend partaking in this activity wisely—and legally! In this post, we’ll share all you need to know about Arizona gambling laws.
How old do you have to be to gamble in Arizona?
First, in order to gamble legally in the state of Arizona, you must be 21 years of age or older, and that includes the state lottery. However, Arizona residents who are at least 18 years of age can participate in some legally-sanctioned online gambling sites.
Casino gambling in Arizona
If you’re a casino enthusiast, you’re in luck in Arizona. Casino gambling has become quite popular in the Grand Canyon State, ever since the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed in 1988. Arizona has more tribal land than any other state—about 27% of Arizona is comprised of tribal land—and quite a few casinos on tribal land: 23 to be exact! These casinos are the only ones that are legally able to operate in the state.
Horse & dog race betting in Arizona
In 2016, the Governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey, signed a bill that outlawed live dog racing in Arizona. The very last dog racing track to close up shop in Arizona was the Tucson Greyhound Park, which had been racing dogs since 1944. Needless to say, there is no legal betting on live dog racing in Arizona.
While there are a few active horse racing tracks in Arizona, they do not legally accept bets onsite. Off-track betting (OTB) for horse and dog racing is a different story, however. State lawmakers currently allow track owners to operate up to seven off-track betting sites, where they can take wagers on horse and dog racing elsewhere. But that law requires the track to actually have live racing in order to offer OTB.
Sports gambling in Arizona
New Jersey won a landmark case in the Supreme Court last year (2018), which allows any state to legalize sports betting. With this victory, nearly all 50 states have at least introduced a bill that would legalize sports betting, including Arizona. According to a recent ESPN article, “On Jan. 23, 2019, a trio of Arizona lawmakers introduced a new bill — SB 1158 — that would authorize federally recognized tribes with a gaming compact to ‘operate sports betting’ in the state.”
So what does that mean for sports betting in Arizona currently? All sports gambling, including online, is still illegal in the state of Arizona.
Online gambling in Arizona
At the moment, Arizona gambling laws do not address online gambling, which is currently unregulated. That puts online gambling in a bit of a gray area within Arizona law. Technically, under the current gambling laws, an individual could be charged with a crime for gambling online. But law enforcement rarely involves themselves in such cases. If you choose to do a little online gambling in Arizona, know that you must be at least 18 years of age and use a legally-sanctioned gambling site.
To sum it up
- Minimum Gambling Age – 21 for casinos, lotteries, pari-mutuels. 18 for bingo, pull-tabs.
- Lottery Betting – Yes
- Tribal Land-Based Casinos – Yes
- Horse & Dog Race Betting – Yes – OTB site only!
- Sports Betting – No
- Online Gambling – Yes – but it’s unregulated, so it’s a bit of a gray area.
Visit the Arizona Department of Gaming website for detailed information about the gambling laws in Arizona. Todd Coolidge Law Firm encourages lawful gambling, but if you’ve been charged with a crime involving gambling, schedule your free consultation with us today.
*Disclaimer: the content provided in this blog post is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Contact criminal defense attorney Todd Coolidge for advice with respect to legal issues.*