Estimated population of 6,931,071 as of 2016)
“We know that internet gaming is poised for movement on the federal level,” Valerie Spicer, Executive Director of the Arizona Indian Gaming Association said in a Casino Enterprise Management gaming forecast. “Will we actually see a bill? Will it get approved or stymied by one of gaming’s largest operators? While states continue to approve internet gaming, tribes need to consider all the business aspects of online gaming.”
It’s no surprise that iGaming is on the minds of tribes in Arizona seeing one of their neighbors, Nevada, has already legalized online poker, and another, California, has long been a rumored candidate. With so much movement around them, Arizona is likely to want a piece of the action.
However, a recent setback was the decision of former Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne to sign a letter advocating for the prohibition of online poker in the United States, which included state-authorized intrastate online poker.
The letter that Horne signed in 2014 calling for Congress to pass the Restoration of America’s Wire Act. Support for this act diminished in 2015 when online eight attorneys general signed on (with Horne’s name absent).
In November 2016, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed an agreement to renegotiate voter-approved 2002 gaming compacts to increase the number of specific games at Indian casinos but to restrict gambling in the Phoenix metro area, according to AZ Central.
The annual National Council of Legislators from Gaming States held its winter meeting in January of 2016, a strange location given the number of state lawmakers trying to avoid gaming expansion.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has tried to keep casino gaming on Native American lands and has outwardly opposed daily fantasy sports. Even more recently, a bill, SB 1312, was submitted to allow the use of electronic bingo machines at Arizona businesses. It has been only allowed in fraternal organizations since the 1950s, reported Havasu News.
Arizona tribal casinos can currently spread poker, but the games aren't of the no-limit variety due to a state law limiting the maximum bet to $500. The biggest games spread in Arizona are of the limit flavor.
According to Online Poker Report in 2015, Arizona's conservative legislature and history spreading live poker games makes it a decent candidate for poker-only online legislation, but no real momentum has ever been built.