Are Western States Lagging on Sports Betting? Mountain States

The post Are Western States Lagging on Sports Betting? Mountain States appeared first on SportsHandle and was written by Robert H. Mann. 

This story is the second of two detailing the latest situations in the west.  To read the first installment on the status in the West Coast states, click here.

Six states have either legalized sports betting or issued licenses for companies to offer sports betting since the Supreme Court on May 14 struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, making sports betting a states’ rights issue. All of those states are located in the east or south. Activity with regard to sports betting has been remarkably limited in the western states.

To no one’s shock, as the more western states see the revenue being generated in newly opened eastern sports betting markets, such as New Jersey and Delaware, legislators are growing increasingly eager to access, for their own jurisdictions, the tax dollars that sports betting can generate. Some states will require a change in gambling laws, others may need a state constitutional amendment in which voters could decide the issue.

As East Coast States Go Full Speed Ahead, When or Will Colorado or New Mexico Legal Sports Betting Arrive? 


Arizona, like many of its western neighbors, is a state where tribal gaming is dominant. After PAPSA was overturned, government officials, including governor Doug Ducey, quickly acknowledged that new laws would be needed to legalize sports betting and that this presented an opportunity to look at all tribal compacts in Arizona with the goal of modernizing and updating them.

Arizona has gaming compacts with more than 20 tribes that limit the types and number of games allowed at casinos and require the tribes to contribute 1-8 percent of gaming revenue to state and local governments. The state has taken in more than $1 billion since 2002, when casino gambling became legal in the state.

“This ruling (overturning PAPSA) gives Arizona options that could benefit our citizens and our general fund,” Ducey tweeted in May.

Attorney general Mark Brnovich, a former director of the state Department of Gaming, filed an amicus brief with the court last September, arguing the ban had violated states’ rights.

The next legislative session in Arizona begins on Jan. 14, 2019.

Brnovich said Arizona law generally bans gambling, with exceptions for things like the lottery, horse racing and compacts with tribes. Social gambling between friends is legal, but betting organized by a third party that takes a cut of the money is not.

The attorney general reminded residents in May that online gambling in the form of sports fantasy leagues run by third parties is illegal under Arizona law. However, online gambling in the form of casino games is legal in the state.

To see how the other seven states are approaching sports betting visit SportsHandle through the link below.

Upcoming Games