The House bill, HB 2509, would establish a new state gaming commission, which would handle the duties that currently fall to the Arizona Racing Commission, the Arizona State Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts Commission, and the Department of Gaming. If enacted, the bill would go into effect on June 30, 2023.
SB 1458, introduced by Sen. Sonny Borrelli, mirrors HB 2509. Borrelli’s bill also aims to give the new “Arizona Gaming Commission” the powers and duties of the racing commission, boxing and MMA commission, and the department of gaming. Arizona launched sports betting on Sept. 9, 2021, and the Department of Gaming currently regulates fantasy sports and event wagering in the state.
Needing just 82 days of legal wagering, Arizona became the fastest state in the post-PASPA era to reach $1 billion in sports betting handle.
— Sports Handle (@sports_handle) January 26, 2022
Inside the bill
Borrelli’s bill includes the same specifics as HB 2509 related to provisions for hiring six members to make up the commission. Those basic guidelines are as follows:
- Certified public accountant, appointed by governor
- One member with at least five years of law enforcement experience, appointed by governor
- Director of the commission
- Three public members, one appointed by governor, one appointed by Senate president, and one appointed by speaker of the House
The bill also includes basic term limit specifications for the various roles and a few factors that would prohibit people from serving on the commission. For example, anyone who has a financial interest in gaming is not qualified for membership on the commission. People who hold elected office in Arizona can’t be on the commission, either. According to the bill, the commission would have an office in Phoenix and it could also maintain an office in Tucson.
SB 1458 seeks to consolidate regulatory duties, and the bill wants the commission to handle everything related to “racing, boxing, kickboxing, mixed martial arts, gambling on Indian reservations, fantasy sports contests, and event wagering conducted in the state.”
The bills still have a long way to go to become law, but each bill made a few steps through the process this week, laying the foundation for changes related to gaming regulation.