Southern Arizona and northern Arizona are drastically different. Southern
Arizona is a desert, with hot summers and mild winters. Northern Arizona is full
of pine, Douglas fir and spruce trees. Northern Arizona also has deep canyons
and moderate summers, with a heavy snowfall in the winter.
One fourth of Arizona is Indian reservation with 27 different federally recognized
Native American tribes. Indian reservation casinos are the only casinos
permitted in all of Arizona.
Although, all for-profit casinos are banned in Arizona, there are plenty of
other gambling opportunities such as online gambling.
Online Gambling and Arizona Law
Is Online Gambling Legal in Arizona?
Yes, online gambling in Arizona is legal for almost every game. There are no
laws written in Arizona to prohibit any type of online gambling, except for
fantasy sports leagues.
According to ARS 13-3303, fantasy advice given to Arizona residents for a fee
is a Class 5 felony.
There have been attempts to legalize fantasy leagues in Arizona, but it has
failed so far.
Surprisingly, many Arizona residents don’t realize this is a law in their
state, and they still enter competitions online. Residents pay to be a part of
the competition, and even if they win, the competition is unable to pay them
because of Arizona state law.
Casino games, sports betting, race betting, lottery and bingo are all legal
in Arizona – just stay away from fantasy sports.
Can I Get Arrested for Gambling Online in Arizona?
Since all types of online gambling in Arizona is legal except for fantasy
sports, no, you can’t get arrested for gambling online in Arizona.
If you pay or enter a fantasy sports competition, you’re not breaking the
If you’re running an illegal fantasy sports competition and paying residents
that live in Arizona, then you can and probably will be arrested.
According to section 13-3301 of the Arizona Revised Statues, gambling is
“one act of risking or giving something of value for the opportunity to
obtain a benefit from a game or contest of chance or skill or a future
contingent event but does not include bona fide business transactions which are
valid under the law of contracts including contracts for the purchase or sale at
a future date of securities or commodities, contracts of indemnity or guarantee
and life, health or accident insurance.”
The short answer for the question, “is gambling legal in Arizona?” is yes, if
it’s regulated gambling. Section 13-3301 of the Arizona Revised Statutes defines
regulated gambling as:
(i) It is operated and controlled in accordance with a statute, rule or
order of this state or of the United States.
(ii) All federal, state or local taxes, fees and charges in lieu of taxes
have been paid by the authorized person or entity on any activity arising out of
or in connection with the gambling.
(iii) If conducted by an organization which is exempt from taxation of income
under section 43-1201, the organization’s records are open to public inspection.
(iv) Beginning on June 1, 2003, none of the players is under twenty-one years
Casino Games: Legal with restrictions
For-profit casinos are prohibited in Arizona – unless they’re an Indian
reservation casino. The Indian reservation casinos throughout the state have
poker, blackjack and about every other game you could find in a Las Vegas
If none of the Tribal casinos “hit the spot,” it’s only a short trip to Las
Sports Betting: Illegal unless offshore
Being a bookmaker in the state of Arizona, online or offline, is illegal.
According to section 13-3307 of the Arizona Revised Statues, possession of
gambling records is a class 1 misdemeanor. Here’s how they define possession of
“A person commits possession of gambling records if he knowingly possesses
any book, writing, paper, instrument, article, electronically-produced data,
computer software and programs, discs, tapes or other tangible or intangible
method of recording information knowing or having reason to know that it arises
out of, or was made in connection with, gambling in violation of this chapter.”
As long as you’re not planning on being a bookie or betting at one in
Arizona, you’re in the clear. Arizona law doesn’t prohibit residents from
placing bets online.
Racing Betting: Legal with restrictions
Dog and horse racing are allowed in Arizona with the restriction that horse
and dog races are not allowed to occur on the same day, in the same county.
Currently, Arizona has two horse race tracks, and just recently closed their
last dog track.
You must be 21 or older to place bets on races.
Off-track betting is available at several restaurants in the state for both
of the horse race tracks in Arizona along with out of state tracks.
Arizona does have a state regulated lottery.
According to the State of Arizona Departments of Revenue:
“Bingo is legal in the State of Arizona for recreational purposes or to allow
certain types of nonprofit organizations to generate funds to support their
You can find bingo halls and a casino with bingo at multiple places
Social Gambling: Legal
Social gambling is legal in Arizona, so feel free to play any casino game as
long as it fits into the definition of a social gambling, such as not profiting
from these games.
Section 13-3301 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, social gambling is defined
“gambling that is not conducted as a business and that involves players who
compete on equal terms with each other in a gamble if all of the following
(a) No player receives, or becomes entitled to receive, any benefit, directly
or indirectly, other than the player’s winnings from the gamble.
(b) No other person receives or becomes entitled to receive any benefit,
directly or indirectly, from the gambling activity, including benefits of
proprietorship, management or unequal advantage or odds in a series of gambles.
(c) Until June 1, 2003, none of the players is below the age of majority.
Beginning on June 1, 2003, none of the players is under twenty-one years of age.
(d) Players “compete on equal terms with each other in a gamble” when no
player enjoys an advantage over any other player in the gamble under the
conditions or rules of the game or contest.”
This means you can freely to play any casino game in your home as long as no
one profits from it.
Arizona has specific laws regarding crane machines. According to section
13-3312 of the Arizona Revised Statutes:
“A. It is unlawful for a person to knowingly cause or commit the following
1. Altering or maintaining a crane game so that the claw is physically unable
to grasp exposed prizes.
2. Displaying prizes in a crane game in a manner so that the claw is
physically incapable of grasping exposed prizes.
3. Misrepresenting the value of prizes in crane games.
4. Using cash or currency as prizes in crane games or awarding prizes in
crane games which are redeemable for cash or currency.
B. A person who violates this section is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.”
Arizona also has laws about amusement games such as carnival games. According
to section 13-3311 of the Arizona Revised Statutes:
“A. Before any person conducts an amusement gambling intellectual contest or
event pursuant to section 13-3301, paragraph 1, subdivision (d), item (iii), the
person shall register with the attorney general’s office.
B. Within ten days following the award of all prizes in connection with an
amusement gambling intellectual contest or event, the person conducting the
contest or event shall file with the attorney general’s office the names and
addresses of all persons who have won prizes in connection with the contest or
C. For each amusement gambling intellectual contest or event held, the person
conducting the event shall file with the attorney general’s office a sworn
statement under oath that no increment has been added to the established
purchase price for the product in connection with the gambling event.
D. This section does not apply to organizations that have qualified for an
exemption from taxation of income under section 43-1201, paragraph 1, 2, 4, 5,
6, 7, 10 or 11 or to academic competitions conducted by school districts or
charter schools that award cash, prizes or scholarships to participants.”
Gambling Venues in Arizona
Arizona has over 20 Indian reservation casinos, but here are the top 10
according to online reviews:
1) Talking Stick Resort
9800 E Talking Stick Way
Scottsdale, AZ 85256
2) Casino Arizona
100 River Oaks Drive
Wetumpka, AL 36092
3) Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino
5040 Wild Horse Pass Blvd
Chandler, AZ 85226
4) Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino
15091 S Komatke Ln
Laveen, AZ 85339
5) Lone Butte Casino
1077 S Kyrene Rd
Chandler, AZ 85226
6) Fort McDowell Casino
10424 N Fort Mcdowell Rd
Fort McDowell, AZ 85264
7) Harrah’s Ak-Chin
15406 Maricopa Rd
Maricopa, AZ 85139
8) Cliff Castle Casino Hotel
555 W Middle Verde Rd
Camp Verde, AZ 86322
9) Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort
22181 Resort Blvd
Flagstaff, AZ 86004
10) Desert Diamond Casino
9431 W Northern Ave
Glendale, AZ 85305
History of Gambling in Arizona
The IGRA, Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, was enacted which established the framework for indian gaming.
Arizona established the State Gaming Agency within the Department of Racing.
16 different Indian tribes signed compacts with the state of Arizona, and by the end of 1994, 10 casinos had been opened.
The Superior Court rules that the Governor of Arizona no longer has the authority to negotiate with the Salt River tribe about slot machines or keno. The decisions would be left up to the Arizona Supreme Court.
The Arizona horse and dog tracks sue Governor Hull in order to get a new compact allowing the tracks to have slot machines.
Authority to sign new compacts with the Indian tribes is returned to Governor Hull, and he signs compacts with 16 tribes.
Governor Janet Napolitano signed compacts with five more tribes.
Blackjack is allowed in Tribal casinos.
Comprehensive surveillance and security are required at all tribal casinos.
Promotional award poker and house-banked poker games are allowed in Tribal casinos.
An increase on the minimum wager you can place per hand in blackjack and poker were increased.
Tribal-State gaming compacts will automatically revew every 10 years, unless there’s a non-compliance issue.
Two new Tribal casinos opened including the first casinos opened by the tribe Navajo Nation.
Currently, Arizona has a wide variety of gambling available, including Tribal
casinos with every casino game, race betting, sports betting, a state lottery
The only two gaming activities that are prohibited are fantasy sports and
for-profit casinos that are not tribal casinos.
There has been a push to legalize fantasy sports, and I wouldn’t be surprised
if it were to be legalized within the next few years.
I don’t see any for-profit casinos being legalized within Arizona in the near
future. The state already has a good handful of Tribal casinos, and on top of
that, Las Vegas is only a short drive or flight.
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