The Arizona House Rules Committee voted 8-0 Monday to advance a bill that would consolidate the commissions that oversee racing, gaming, boxing, and mixed martial arts.
House Bill 2509, introduced by Republican Leo Biasiucci, would establish a new state gaming commission to regulate and promote activities that currently fall under three separate commissions: the Arizona Racing Commission, the Arizona State Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts Commission, and the Department of Gaming. The law would go into effect on June 30, 2023.
Next up for Arizona’s effort to consolidate the three commissions is a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing scheduled for Tuesday morning.
Makeup of the gaming commission
The legislation includes provisions for determining six members of the new Arizona Gaming Commission, four of whom would be gubernatorial appointees. The latter would include a director of the commission with at least five years’ experience in public or business administration, a certified public accountant, a member experienced in law enforcement, and another gubernatorial public appointee. In addition, the Senate president and House speaker would each have a public appointee.
If passed, the bill would make Arizona the second state after Tennessee to remove regulation of the gaming industry from the original regulator. Tennessee legislators voted last year to take responsibility for regulating the new sports betting industry away from the Tennessee Lottery and hand it to the Sports Wagering Advisory Council.
Arizona has had regulated online sports betting since September. The state allowed for up to 20 sports betting licenses, 10 of which were dedicated for professional sports teams and 10 to be allocated to federally recognized tribes located in the state. As it turns out, however, not all of the sports team licenses have been claimed and there are more tribes than licenses available for them.
The Arizona Department of Gaming was created in 1995 and assumed responsibility from the Arizona Department of Racing to monitor Indian gaming operations. The duties of the department expanded in 2015 to include regulating commercial horse and dog racing, parimutuel wagering, boxing and mixed martial arts. Arizona outlawed dog racing in 2016.