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KNAU and Arizona News

Arizona Governor To Sign Bill Legalizing Sports Betting

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Associated Press | Wayne Perry
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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey plans to sign a bill Thursday that allows a major expansion of gambling in the state.

The measure approved by the Legislature adds additional types of table games at tribal casinos and for the first time allows sports betting under licenses issued to tribes and pro sports teams. It also allows gambling on fantasy sports and new Keno games at horse race tracks and fraternal organizations.

The passage of the legislation is tied to the updated gaming compact Ducey has struck with tribes and plans to publicly release for the first time Thursday morning. It is known that some new casinos will be allowed under the updated agreement.

The governor has invited lawmakers and tribal leaders to attend the signing at the Heard Museum.

The biggest part of the plan will allow pro sports teams like the Arizona Coyotes, Arizona Diamondbacks and Arizona Cardinals to run sports betting operations at their respective venues, at a retail location within a quarter mile and online. There would be 10 licenses awarded to sports, which could include professional golf and even NASCAR.

Tribes would also get 10 licenses and could run sports books at two dozen tribal casinos in the state.

The tribes, which have fiercely protected their exclusive right to most gambling in the state under the gaming compact approved by the state’s voters in 2002, get the right to build new casinos under an updated deal. And in a big win, they would also be allowed to greatly expand their exclusive gambling offerings, adding games like Baccarat and craps to existing offerings of slot machines, blackjack and poker.

There are also options for online gambling as well, allowing growing online gambling sites like Draft Kings to piggyback on the licenses.