Arizona may be the only state whose road to legalized gambling involved a barricade and included an armed standoff. Despite the process reading more like an all-out war and less like a legislative battle, Arizona is now home to 26 tribal casinos hosting a wealth of slots, poker, blackjack, roulette, table games, and more – with sports betting looking to become a reality as soon as 2021.
Arizona Legal Gambling History
The first bit of gambling gone legal in Arizona happened in 1958 when the state formed it’s racing commission. This allowed for pari-mutuel wagering and later off-track and simulcast betting.
Arizona made history in 1980, when state voters decided “yes” on a state lottery, making it the first state lottery established west of the Mississippi. The next year, in 1981, the first ticket was sold. Arizona state lottery includes scratch-offs, Powerball, and Mega Millions.
After the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, several of Arizona’s tribes had installed slot machines in their casinos throughout the early 1990s. This was done on their own accord and without attempting to enter into compacts with the state. Arizona’s then-Governor Fife Symington declared this illegal. What ensued were FBI raids on the tribal casinos and seizure of their slots.
But when it came time to move on the Fort Dowell Casino, its owners, the Yavapai Indians formed a blockade on the road that was the casino’s only entrance. This turned into a stand-off where after 8 hours, the FBI decided to back off and let tensions die down a bit. The slots were later seized.
Due to the publicity of this incident and the public siding with the Yavapai Indians, the governor was forced under public pressure to meet with 16 of Arizona’s tribes to negotiate legal casino gambling on reservations. The 16 tribes entered into compacts with the state and legal slot machine gaming was granted.
Wanting a piece of the slot action, Arizona’s racing tracks sued the state Governor in 2000 to allow for them to house slot machines. They were less than victorious.
In 2004, a new table game law legalized blackjack at the state’s tribal casinos. In 2007, poker was legalized at the tribal casinos. By 2009, the cap on wagering for table games and poker had increased to $500.
Throughout this time the state periodically entered into compacts with more of the state’s tribes. Today Arizona is home to 26 tribal casinos.
Arizona Gambling Legal Status
Arizona is home to 26 tribal casinos and slots, blackjack and poker are all legal.
Track betting, off-track and simulcast betting, charitable gaming, and state lottery are legal in Arizona.
Online gambling, sports betting, and daily fantasy sports are currently illegal in Arizona’s
Gambling at casinos and tracks is 21 and up in Arizona. Charitable games and lottery are 18 years of age and older.
Arizona Land-Based Casinos
You don’t have to go very far in Arizona to run into a casino. No matter where you are in the state, you’ll be near at least one of the states 26 tribal casinos.
Arizona’s 26 tribal casinos include a wealth of slots, poker, and table games. They are as follows:
- Apache Gold Casino Resort
- Apache Sky Casino
- BlueWater Resort and Casino
- Bucky’s Casino
- Casino Arizona
- Casino del Sol
- Casino of the Sun
- Cliff Castle Casino
- Cocopah Resort Casino
- Desert Diamond Casino
- Desert Diamond Casino–Sahuarita
- Desert Diamond Casino–West Valley
- Desert Diamond Hotel & Casino–Tucson
- Fort McDowell Casino
- Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino
- Hon-Dah Resort Casino
- Lone Butte Casino
- Mazatzal Casino
- Paradise Casino
- Spirit Mountain Casino
- Talking Stick Resort
- Twin Arrows Casino Resort
- Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino
- Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino
- Yavapai Casino
Arizona Legal Daily Fantasy Sports and Sports Betting
As it stands, both daily fantasy sports and sports betting are illegal in Arizona. It’s projected that all of that will change as soon as 2021. Arizona lawmakers are doing their best to lay out their plans to bring sports betting to the state as we speak and the support seems to be there.
Arizona Legal Gambling FAQ’s
What forms of gambling are legal in the state of Arizona?
The following acts of gambling are legal to take part in Arizona:
- Slots and table games at tribal casinos.
- State lottery.
- Charitable games such as bingo and raffles.
- Track betting including off-track betting.