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State senator introduces bill to allow sports betting in Arizona

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PHOENIX — When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law prohibiting sports betting in May, many in Arizona saw an opportunity for the state to benefit.

Now Republican state Sen. Sonny Borrelli has introduced a bill that outlines what legal sports betting in Arizona could look like.

The bill, SB 1158, would allow any federally recognized tribe that has a tribe-state gaming compact to operate sports gambling.

The bill would allow tribes to offer sports betting not only in casinos, but also in certain establishments that have bar or beer and wine licenses through kiosks placed there.

The kiosks could also go in “private clubs,” which include places like the American Legion.

Borelli said the bill would allow more rural Arizonans to get in on sports gambling.

“Those licensed liquor establishments would be able to have that kiosk in their establishment, so a patron could place a bet,” Borrelli told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday.

“Go bet 10 bucks on the Cardinals and instead of going 40, 50, even 100 miles to the nearest tribal casino, they could do it in their own hometown.”

Borelli said money made from sports betting in casinos would fall into existing tribal revenue share agreements.

Bets placed in kiosks not in casinos would still be sent to the tribe, but would also be subject to an entertainment tax that the establishment with the kiosk would pay, he said.

“This is a way for everybody to be able to hopefully make some money, and a sports better can place a bet on their favorite team,” he said.

Borrelli said he would like to see the bill take effect before Spring Training begins, but he thinks it’s unlikely because the Arizona Department of Gaming — the agency that regulates gambling — would need time to adapt to the new law.

Borrelli said the bill doesn’t force anyone to do anything — it only creates options.

“(The bill) respects the tribal compact and their sovereignty, and they can opt in or opt out. … It’s all permissive. If they do not want to put that kiosk in a local bar away from the casino, that’s totally up to them and, obviously, the bar owners,” he said.

“It’s a win-win for everybody.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ashley Flood contributed to this report. 

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