With new sports gaming law in place, first quarter of fiscal year sees record deposit to benefits fund

Since the implementation of House Bill 2772 in September, legislation to modernize Arizona’s gaming laws and practices, Arizona professional sports teams and venues, gaming websites and mobile apps, and casino operators have already utilized the updated gaming laws to generate millions in tax revenue for the state. 

The bill modernized an industry supporting more than 38,000 jobs and amended gaming compacts with the tribal nations of Arizona. In addition to renovating an aging gaming system, the bill legalizes sports betting and proposes 20 licenses for tribal operators and professional sports teams to take part in event wagering.

“Gaming employs thousands of Arizonans, and it generates millions in tax revenue that benefits areas like K-12 education, conservation, and treatment centers,” Gov. Doug Ducey said after the bill signing.

New tribal gaming compact 

According to the Arizona Department of Gaming, the Compact institutes technical standards for gaming machines, authorizes state inspection of casinos, establishes a thorough application process for the licensing of casinos and employees, and defines how taxes on net gaming revenue will go towards state and local governments.

Tribes may operate multiple gaming facilities under one license. The Compact also increases to 1400 the number of gaming devices that a tribe may operate at each gaming facility. Transfer agreements under the Compact also allow tribes to transfer monies to recognized tribes that do not have casinos or who are located in rural areas so that they may also benefit from gaming revenue.

The rollout of sports betting

Wagering licenses that have been awarded include the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Diamondbacks,, Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Coyotes, and the TPC Scottsdale and Phoenix Raceway. Teams who have applied for licensees, but who are still in the application process, include the Indoor Football League’s Arizona Rattlers in partnership with BetRivers, and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, which has a 15-year agreement in place with Bally’s.

The second week of September marked the opening weekend for sports-betting in Arizona. More than six million bets or log-ins to betting applications were recorded during the first four days, putting Arizona in 4th place among states for most sports betting transactions. 

GeoComply, a company that records data for sports betting, says that its data covers nearly 100% of the legal online industry in the U.S. The managing director for GeoComply, Lindsay Slader, said that “Arizona is showing that there is pent up demand for sports betting in the Western part of the US… We haven’t seen anything quite like it”

Benefits for the state

The passage of prop 202 in 2002 and the Tribal Compact updates of 2021 require that gaming tribes in Arizona make annual contributions to the Arizona Benefits Fund, which is used to invest in the state’s education, healthcare systems, conservation, and the economies of local communities.

For the period from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, tribal contributions from gaming revenue deposited in the Arizona Benefits Fund, amounted to more than $97 million. Additionally, the Arizona Department of Gaming announced that $40,699,186 in tribal gaming contributions will be deposited in the Arizona Benefits Fund for the state’s first quarter of fiscal year 2022.

“We’re excited to see the largest contribution ever to the Arizona Benefits Fund to kick off the start of fiscal year 2022,” Arizona Department of Gaming Director Ted Vogt said. “This increase directly correlates with the newly amended Tribal-State Gaming Compacts signed by Governor Ducey and Arizona tribes earlier this year. Without a doubt, all signals point toward a new era of tribal gaming that will go to benefit all of Arizona.”Mobile sports betting is projected to produce $252,000,000 in annual revenue. This will be taxed by the state at a rate of 8%, a rate established in HB 2772.

Stephen Matter

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