The Skinny on Legal Sports Betting in Arizona

Arizona Arizona presents a fairly pro-gambling environment for residents interested in gambling entertainment. You will find just about any type of state regulated betting venue you are seeking, with the exception of sportsbook gambling and daily fantasy sports contests. Do lawmakers in Arizona have it out for sports fans? No, there is no vendetta against sports enthusiasts. The state leaders’ hands are literally tied from expanding their existing range of gambling opportunities for several reasons. The first being two specific federal laws that govern the US based sports gambling market. Secondly, specific components of the state tribal gaming compacts include a poison pill aimed at the state’s tax revenue stream generated from tribal gaming. The poison pill is designed to restrict the state from bringing in betting initiatives that compete with the existing tribal gambling properties or pay a hefty price for doing so.

Are Arizona gamblers simply left out in the cold as far as sports betting is concerned? Absolutely not. There are multiple online sportsbook destinations that can legally accept customers from Arizona without breaking any state or federal laws. In order to successfully navigate this challenging maze of legal complexities, you need to first understand the legalities surrounding sports betting in Arizona. This page of our guide was created to provide a comprehensive look at Arizona’s gambling laws regarding sports betting, how federal laws impact the options that the state’s residents have access to, and how to locate a legitimately licensed and regulated sportsbook where AZ residents can legally bet on sports.

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All USA Sportsbooks
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Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Arizona?

LegalitiesThe answer to this question is two fold. From a state regulated standpoint, you will not find any brick and mortar or online bookmakers that are licensed to operate in Arizona. At this time, it is not legal to own or operate an online sportsbook anywhere in the United States, including Arizona. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act prevents any brick and mortar bookies from existing in the state, and the Federal Wire Act makes sure there are no US based online bookmakers operating anywhere within US borders. Even if Arizona wanted to defy their tribal compacts and legalize online or offline sports betting, they would not be able to legally pull it off.

As if the federal laws were not restrictive enough, Arizona’s state laws are further complicated by details contained within the state tribal compacts. In the compacts, the state contractually agreed not to expand gambling options beyond those already existing in the state. Should the state breech this point of the contract, the state’s Indian tribes will be able to build as many casino properties as they choose on tribal lands, and will not be required to pay taxes on any of it. You can imagine what this would do to the state’s budget.

If there was any question regarding whether or not the tribes were serious about this poison pill, it was eliminated when the tribes demanded that the state criminalize DFS activities in Arizona. Initially state officials answered the way many states do, stating that they did not consider daily fantasy sports contests to be categorized as gambling. The tribes were unmoved by this and demanded that the state officially make it illegal for state residents to participate in DFS contests, which they did.

So its safe to say that all state regulated forms of sports betting are off the table in Arizona, including DFS. However, none of these state laws or federal laws make it illegal for residents to bet on sports online at licensed and regulated offshore sportsbooks that are operating legally in the international gambling market. So no, the state does not offer legal online sports betting just yet. However licensed offshore sportsbook gambling is certainly not illegal for Arizona sports fans to enjoy. In fact, this page includes a list of recommended online sportsbooks that hold legitimate licensing and compliance certifications, that are subject to regulatory oversight, and that offer a premium betting experience through a safe and secure online environment. They all accept players from Arizona as well.

The Types of Laws Impacting Gambling in Arizona

Unfortunately for Arizonans, their state isn't one of the lucky four exempt from federal gambling regulations that are governed by USA sports betting laws. For Arizona, they must comply with three separate federal acts. You have the Federal Wire Act, which shuts down any options for US based online sportsbook gambling. You have PASPA, which basically defines sports betting as an illegal activity in all but four states and thus takes it off the table as a viable option. And then you have the UIGEA, which really just strengthened the former pieces of legislation by really cracking down on how gambling related transactions are processed. Overall, these three pieces of legislation leave Arizona unable to do much but mirror the federal sanctions when it comes to sports betting. Sure, in some regards, like with immigration, Arizona is known for branching out and going their own way. But believe it or not, the government cracks down exceedingly harder on illegal gambling than they do immigration. Immigration is a hot-button political topic. The federal government really tries to avoid it. Gambling, however, is a Puritanical relic that hasn't evaporated yet, so they go after it hard. Plus you're dealing with a lot of money exchanging hands in gambling, and everyone knows that the IRS is no joke.

The good news here for Arizonans is that the federal restrictions against gambling still fall in line with the state restrictions. This means that any individual seeking legally approved sportsbook gambling at a licensed and regulated sports betting site based outside of the United States can do so without violating any AZ state laws or any US federal gambling laws. Licensed and regulated offshore sportsbooks can legally offer their services to bettors all around the world, including the United States.

What Arizona's Sports Atmosphere Looks Like

So, if sports betting is big in Arizona, it stands to reason that sports themselves are very popular in the state. And, of course, that would be correct. Arizona is a state that's crazy about its sports, and it has plenty to choose from. Every major sport in America has at least a semi-professional presence in the state, and Arizona even has its own NFL team. Sure, there are 32 teams, but with three teams in New York, three teams in Cali, and three teams in Florida, the other 47 states only have 26 teams to split, so nearly half of all US states do not have an NFL team. That Arizona has an NFL franchise with the Arizona Cardinals makes it not only a huge draw for in-state traffic, but also out-of-state traffic. New Mexico, Utah and Nevada are all without NFL teams, so many of their citizens make the trek to Arizona every year to watch the Cardinals play.

The Arizona Cardinals Odds of Success This NFL Season

For the Arizona Cardinals, the 2017-2018 season could be the last time we see quarterback Carson Palmer, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and head coach Bruce Arians together. Last year, the team went 7-8-1 in their NFC West Division. They did not qualify for the Playoffs and suffered some serious bad luck throughout the season. The Cardinals are a strong team and are wanting to impose their will on their division and throughout the rest of the league. Their 2015-2016 season was a better testament to the quality of team they are and they’ll want to emulate that with this campaign. The opening game will be at Detroit against the Lions, so the Cardinals have a chance to get off on the right foot. Betting on the Cardinals depends on what version of them we’ll be seeing this season. If the team can replicate their 2015-2016 season, they will be a solid bet in most matchups.

Odds for Arizona Cardinals to Win the 2018 Superbowl

Arizona Cardinals: +4000

Basketball in Arizona

The second-most popular sport in Arizona is easily basketball. With the Phoenix Suns having a long and storied history of competing in the dangerous Western Conference and doing well, more and more people from the southwestern region are beginning to appreciate Phoenix's yearly efforts. However, be careful if you're going to bet on them this year. As a fan, it's one thing to really root for your team and hope that your team does well when playing against the likes of the Thunder, the Spurs, and Warriors and Clippers, but it's another thing entirely to put your money down. The Suns don't have quite as much talent as years past. With players like Eric Bledsoe, Alex Lan, Markieff Morrif and P.J. Tucker, they're able to hold their own against average teams, but they don't quite have the firepower to get past those elite teams in the West. So, if you're a huge Suns' fan, just be careful when putting your money down. Realistically speaking, they're a very average team.

Odds for Phoenix Suns to Win the 2018 NBA Championship

Phoenix Suns TBD

Arizona also has a WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury. This team is a lot better than the Suns, and they have three WNBA Championships since their first season in 2007. They won the title in '07, '09, and just last year in '14. The Mercury are very tough to contend with, and they make a far safer bet for sports gamblers than do the Suns. Our Phoenix sports betting guide offers more information on each team and legal options for wagering.

Collegiate Sports in Arizona - NCAAF & NCAAB

On the collegiate level, Arizona has always been able to stand and compete with the big boys, and none of that is going to change much this year with football and basketball. The big draw coming out of Arizona is the Arizona Wildcats. They don't do that much in NCAA men's football, as the SEC and other power conferences basically own the BCS and now the new playoff, but in the NCAA men's basketball rankings, the Wildcats are perennial contenders. They make a great bet for the first couple rounds of March Madness, and the Wildcats always seem to have some serious talent on the court. In the past four years, the Arizona Wildcats have made it to the Elite Eight three times, which is a feat that few schools have ever pulled off in such a short span. Many basketball experts believe that Arizona could do even better this year, potentially getting into a Final Four slot. They certainly have the talent and motivation; they're one of the safest bets to make in all of college sports.

The Arizona State Sun Devils, out of the Pac-12 conference, are another strong collegiate team out of Tempe, Arizona. Now, as mentioned above, they're not exactly challenging the big SEC West teams for the National Championship, but they're a very tough team in their own conferences. So, for the purposes of sports betting, the Sun Devils should be good for a solid seven wins. This collegiate program also has tremendous athletes in less popular sports like archery, track and field, and badminton. If your sports betting extends to these niche sports, make sure the Sun Devils are on your radar. They frequently win in these types of events.

Future NCAAF Odds for Top Arizona College Football Team

Arizona Sun Devils +10000

Future NCAAB Odds for Top Arizona College Basketball Team

Arizona Wildcats +2000

Which Arizona Sport is Likely to Do the Best This Year for Gamblers

In the list of Arizona sports above, we left out over half a dozen minor league baseball teams, the Tuscon FC soccer team, and some other semi-pro and B-league teams that many Arizonans root for. This is because we're focused on sports betting here, and thus we're trying to stick with the teams that will give you a chance to win money should you want to bet on them. To that end, there is one team in Arizona that stands out above all others, and that's the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL.

There are some very legitimate reasons that we predict they will do the best this year. For starters, they have an extremely potent offense, with a healthy Carson Palmer leading the charge as their Pro Bowl QB. They also have a fairly week schedule. They can realistically go 7-0/8-1 to start the season, playing teams like the Saints, the Bears, the 49ers, the Rams, the Lions, the Steelers and the Ravens in consecutive weeks. Then they have the Cleveland Browns directly after that before taking a bye week. After they get out of the bye, things get tough with a game against Seattle, and then the Bengals. And they close very tough, with back-to-back weeks against the Packers and the Seahawks. However, a 12-4 record for Arizona is something that's definitely within reach this season. They are the hottest thing going in the state, and sports betters should definitely pay attention. If the Cardinals are favored against one of those weaker teams in the first half of the season, don't be too shy about it. They should cover.

When betting on any type of sport, regardless of the particular sport or the team, always remember to bet responsibly and to look for legal online sportsbooks. Arizona might be a little lax on sports betting, but you still don't want to risk your money.

Resources For Arizona Bettors

Arizona Gambling Statutes