Arizona has a history of failing to keep up with the latest developments in the gambling world. When the Indian Regulatory Gaming Act of 1988 was passed, the local Indian tribes began to offer casino games without signing any deals with the local authorities.
In May 1992, the National Indian Gaming Commission prohibited Indian casinos from offering slots without signing a compact with the appropriate state. As a result, governor Fife Symington asked the FBI to raid all Indian gambling establishments. The Indians decided to defend their property, and after a tense three-week standoff, the local tribes and the Arizona government agreed. In the end, Arizona signed casino deals with 22 out of the 23 local tribes.
Arizona Gambling Law Summary
The current situation is not as dramatic, but the law isn’t well-adjusted to reality. Tribal casinos aside, most forms of land-based gambling are illegal in Arizona. The only exceptions include the state-operated lottery and wagering on horse and dog races, which is available exclusively on track. You can also engage in charitable games of bingo, raffles, and casino nights.
|Land-Based Gambling||Yes||Tribal casinos and poker|
|Online Gambling||Yes||Pari-mutuel and skill games only|
|Lottery||Yes||Intrastate and multistate games available|
|Charitable Gaming||Yes||Bingo, raffles, pull-tabs, casino nights|
|Minimum Gambling Age||21 for all forms of gambling|
Gambling-related matters are covered by Arizona Revised Statutes ARS 13-3301 et seq. and ARS 5-101 et seq. The minimum gambling age is 21.
Online Gambling in Arizona
Internet gambling is unregulated, and local lawmakers don’t seem interested in changing the status quo. Most offshore sites, such as Bovada or BetOnline, accept Arizona-based gamblers, but the legality of such activities can be questioned due to the state’s land-based gambling regulations. All in all, while online gambling is present in Arizona, it exists in a legal grey area.
Arizona regulations don’t mention playing on offshore gambling sites, which means that theoretically speaking, it simply isn’t considered a punishable offense. However, local laws are rather strict when dealing with unlicensed land-based gambling. Consequently, the legal status of online play in Arizona is somewhat ambiguous, as many lawyers argue whether the general laws can be applied to playing on unlicensed iGaming sites or not. Fortunately, the local authorities have never tried using this loophole to go after individual Internet gamblers, so most industry experts agree that Arizona is perfectly safe when it comes to online play.
There are 23 tribal casinos in Arizona, with the largest ones located in Tucson (Casino del Sol), Chandler (Desert Diamond Casino), Maricopa (Harrah’s Ak-Chin), Fountain Hills (Fort McDowell), Laveen (Gila River – Vee Quiva), and Scottsdale (Casino Arizona). Despite this abundance of land-based gambling establishments, there are no licensed online casino options available to residents.
If you live in Arizona and are looking to play on local casino sites, your options are limited to social casinos operated by local tribal businesses, such as the Double Down Casino or Harrah’s Online.
You can also try joining one of the offshore sites, such as Bovada or BetOnline. Playing on offshore casino platforms isn’t explicitly prohibited, and local authorities tend to ignore this segment of the market. However, there is no guarantee that this will always be the case.
There are 11 major poker rooms located in Arizona, and they’re all operated by tribal casinos. The biggest one is equipped with 47 tables and belongs to the Talking Stick Resort. Legal internet poker isn’t available within the borders of the state. If you’re looking for some online action in Arizona, social sites like Zynga and offshore poker platforms are your only options. Keep in mind that, much like offshore casinos, offshore poker rooms operate in a grey area, and you can never be certain that using those sites for real money play will not put you in legal jeopardy.
Arizona Sports Betting
Arizona residents can wager on the outcome of horse and dog races. Still, they can only do it at local facilities such as Rillito Downs Park Racetrack, Turf Paradise Race Course, and Yavapai Downs Racecourse. Daytime dog racing cannot be held on the same day as daytime horse racing hosted in the same county.
Betting on traditional sports is prohibited in Arizona, and – as mentioned above – the relevant statutes are highly unlikely to be updated to match the Supreme Court ruling that lifted the federal sports betting ban. Online sports betting is available exclusively via offshore sportsbooks. Even though local authorities don’t seem to be interested in going after customers of such platforms, using them carries some risk.
Arizona Daily Fantasy Sports
DFS contests are illegal under Arizona law, so major DFS sites don’t offer their services to residents of this state. FanDuel, DraftKings, Yahoo DFS, and Fantasy Draft all feature Arizona on their list of restricted territories.
Arizona Lottery has its website, but it doesn’t give you access to any online gambling options. Instead, the site is a virtual tour of all the products that you can find at the counter of any Arizona Lottery retailer.
Bingo is a popular charity game in Arizona, but it can’t be offered for commercial purposes outside of the Indian territories. Consequently, if you live in Arizona, you cannot access any state-sanctioned online bingo sites. Your only option to play real money bingo on the internet is through an offshore platform, which could potentially be construed as a violation of Arizona’s local gambling laws.
Arizona Online Gambling FAQ
What types of gambling are available in AZ?
Arizona isn’t exactly the most gambling-friendly state in the country. Still, land-based gambling enthusiasts are free to visit the tribal casinos operated by the Gila River Indian Community or to wager on the horse and greyhound races held at the local racetracks. Please note that those Indian casinos had to fight an uphill legal battle for their very existence back in the nineties. Consequently, Arizona casinos generally aren’t interested in moving their business online, as they’re afraid that their brick-and-mortar will simply lose relevance if the state opts to launch its online gambling market.
What laws cover online gambling in AZ?
Section 13 of the Arizona Code covers gambling within the borders of the state. Keep in mind that while none of those mentioned above laws deal with internet gaming, there’s nothing to stop the Arizona police from asserting that local laws may be applied to internet games. Fortunately, this theory hasn’t been put into practice, and the prosecution of players is non-existent. The authorities simply stick to tracking down illegal gambling operators instead.
Is real money online gambling legal in AZ?
As briefly touched on above, internet gaming isn’t prohibited in Arizona.
Which offshore gambling sites accept AZ residents?
Most sites have absolutely no qualms about accepting new players from Arizona, but we’d recommend sticking with Bovada, as it’s the most trustworthy offshore site on the US market these days.
What are the most popular banking options supported by Arizona-facing sites?
Popular options include credit and debit card payments, prepaid cards, and money orders. Please note that domestic-only cards aren’t compatible with offshore sites, so you should make sure that your Visa or MasterCard has been cleared for international transactions before you try to make an actual money transfer.
Does AZ offer any intrastate online gambling?
Unlike New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, Arizona doesn’t have a local iGaming industry. Arizona-based companies are prohibited from offering online gambling, which means that state residents are stuck with offshore gambling sites.
Is it likely for AZ to regulate online gambling?
While it isn’t very likely to happen in a year or two, some of the state’s lawmakers are known for acting pro-iGaming in the past. For example, Arizona Senator John Kyl became quite famous among online gambling enthusiasts by trying to pass a liberal online gambling bill along with Senator Harry Reid from Nevada.