Is Poker legal in Arizona (az)? Online Poker Laws in Arizona Explained
Table Of Contents
- Live Poker is allowed
- Sports Betting is allowed
Senate Bill 1797 and House Bill 2772 were both passed in 2021.Senate Bill 1797
- Online Poker is forbidden
- Online Casino is forbidden
Can You Play Online Poker in Arizona?
There is currently no legislation permitting online poker in the state.
Current Arizona Gambling Laws
Gambling in Arizona is regulated in the forms of tribal casinos, horse racing and dog racing — which may not occur on the same day within a particular county, and an official statewide lottery.
Per the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1988, casinos are permitted on Native American land, and in Arizona, those are the only casinos allowed. Arizona has the most U.S. tribal land of any state in the country, totaling more than 20 million acres and accounting for around 27 percent of the state's land base.
The IGRA requires state-tribal compacts to authorize Class III gaming facilities, which allow slots, blackjack and hour-banked poker in Arizona. While the state signed compacts with 17 tribes in 2002, there are currently 15 Arizona tribal groups that operate at least one casino, with 23 total in operation. Revenues from the tribal gaming operations are required to be used only for tribal governmental and charitable ventures.
In November 2016, Gov. Doug Ducey signed an agreement with 10 tribes to renegotiate the established compacts to increase the number of specific games that can be offered at the Indian casinos and to limit the expansion of gambling in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area to land tribes held in trust on or before Feb. 5, 2003, according to azcentral.com.
The expansion of games included increasing number of keno games allowed from two to four and number of poker tables from 100 to 105 at those casinos within 40 miles of Phoenix, Tucson and Mesa (cities with population greater than 400,000).
There are currently 11 live poker rooms in operation in Arizona casinos, according to Poker Atlas, with cash games available in the limit and spread limit varieties. No-limit games aren't permitted but low and mid-stakes spread limit games mimic no-limit as the betting cap in the state is $500. There's also a cap of four bets per betting round.
Online gambling is not addressed in Arizona law and there are no regulated online gambling sties within Arizona state lines. There are also no explicit laws against playing on offshore betting sites.
However, according to playusa.com, some land-based casinos offer free play gambling options online through their websites. These include Casino del Sol (Double Down Casino), Ak-Chin (Harrah's online site, including Slotomania), Talking Stick Casino and the Desert Diamond properties, each of which has its own site.
In a 2014 CasinoRankings.com Gaming Industry Forecast, Executive Director of the Arizona Indian Gaming Association Valerie Spicer said regarding iGaming: "We know that internet gaming is poised for movement on the federal level. 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.
A minor setback to iGaming in the state came in 2014 when former Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne signed a letter advocating for the anti-online gaming legislation Restoration of America's Wire Act (RAWA), but his name did not appear on a similar petition the following year.
With a history spreading live poker games in Indian casinos across the state and some casinos dabbling in offering play money online casino games, Arizona could be a potential candidate for iGaming legislation, but there's been no real push for it thus far.
Arizona's historical conservative legislature, however, doesn't inspire much confidence in the state getting on the iGaming train before many more dominoes fall first.
Sports Betting Comes to Arizona
In April 2021, Arizona lawmakers approved Senate Bill 1797 and House Bill 2772, two bills to legalize sports and fantasy betting within the state. Gov. Doug Ducey signed the bills into law shortly after.
Arizona sports betting launched a few months later in September 2021, with FanDuel Sportsbook being one of the first sportsbooks to open. Other sportsbooks in the state include DraftKings, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, Unibet and Barstool Sportsbook.
Best Online Poker Sites for Arizona Players
None at present. But you can always play poker for free with the WSOP Social App.