There’s something about the total collapse of tax revenues during the pandemic that have made all kinds of US state governors take a fresh look at the viability of regulated sports betting in their states. The latest convert to the potential fiscal benefits of regulated wagering is Arizona Governor Doug Ducey.

But bringing sports betting, or more specifically mobile sports betting, to the good people of the Grand Canyon State might wind up being easier said than done thanks to the complexities of tribal gaming.

Governor Ducey addressed the issue of regulated sports betting recently during his State of the State Address. “There’s also an opportunity for a modernized gaming compact that will bring in more revenue for our tribal nations and our state budget,” he said.

But there is a stumbling block hidden in the vagaries of Arizona’s gaming compact with the tribes who run casinos in the state. The problem is outlined in some detail in a recent report from Legal Sports Report, but the problem is deceptively simple. In Arizona, as in most states with tribal gaming compacts, all gaming must be done on reservation land. Mobile betting, which is all anyone wants anyways, isn’t done on tribal lands.

It’s a problem that can be solved, but a lot of laws must be re-written before regulated sports betting can be offered by Arizona’s Indian tribes. There’s little doubt that, given the dire budget deficits faced by Arizona, that lawmakers will make the necessary adjustments as quickly as possible.


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