Drive for horse track gambling could doom proposition to create activities wagering to Arizona

Ryan Randazzo

| Arizona Republic

A measure allowing activities wagering in Arizona has struck a snag within the Senate, where a lawmaker has tied up the bill to expanded gambling at horse tracks. That move could doom its fate.

However, Arizonans could nevertheless see activities wagering if a bill that is separate the House advances.

Sports betting has support that is wide the general public in addition to from Republicans and Democrats during the Arizona Legislature, and through the governor.

In years previous, any gambling expansion outside indigenous American reservations has faced opposition through the state’s tribes. Gov. Doug Ducey has won help from tribes for activities wagering this present year by agreeing allowing tribes to grow their gambling enterprises and gambling offerings in return for their help of identical activities bills that are betting in both chambers of the Legislature.

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But despite extensive help, Senate Bill 1797 has experienced a roadblock. It had been held within the Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Sen. David Gowan, R-Sierra Vista. Gowan then took the bill sports that are allowing, and added it to a bill that allows expanded gambling at horse tracks, which tribes oppose.

Senate Bill 1794 would allow horse that is”historic,” where gamblers bet on formerly run horse events on slot-machine like terminals. The events don’t have to be rerun simply because they currently occurred. That produces the speed of betting faster as well as the home takes a cut associated with the overall pool that is betting

Expanding gambling at horse tracks does not have broad support like sports betting, and the bill is unlikely to become law, because Democrats will vote it, and the governor is not likely to sign any bill that sinks his negotiations on the tribal gaming compacts.

It against it, tribes oppose squeaked out from the Senate Appropriations Committee on a vote that is 5-4 with Democrats opposed, on Feb. 23. Sen. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, approved the bill but said she “very likely” will not vote to pass it on the Senate floor, saying she opposes all gambling expansions.

“I Have some concerns with some of the social individuals pressing this bill,” Townsend stated. “we won’t title names. It renders a taste that is bad my mouth all around.”

Democrats on the committee questioned whether allowing historic horse racing would trigger a “poison pill” in tribal gaming compacts, meaning then the tribes can expand their operations outside of the state compacts.

Arizona’s if off reservation gambling expands without the tribes’ consent tribes have video gaming compacts because of the declare that expire on the next years that are few. The governor is renegotiating those to amend and extend them for 20 years. The update that is last authorized by voters in 2002 with Proposition 202, which established a framework for state gambling.

Prescott Valley horse track might need boost

But a horse track in Prescott Valley seems to require the horse that is historic bill to boost business.

A January report to the Arizona Department of Gaming says that Arizona Downs doesn’t have money that is enough spend its present debts, and it is “insolvent.” The track is certainly one of three that operate in the continuing state in addition to two county fairs that normally have racing. All suspended races year that is last the pandemic.

Arizona Downs additionally runs off-track wagering at numerous pubs within the continuing state including four in Phoenix.

Arizona Downs has a buyer that is potential a company called ELS Gaming, however the are accountable to the Department of Gaming claims that ELS is not likely to shop for the 80% stake within the track as prepared if the Legislature does not enable expanded gambling at state horse songs.

“In the event that bill doesn’t pass within the Arizona Legislature, there was a solid possibility that ELS Gaming will perhaps not work out its purchase choice,” claimed the monetary report in the track from Keegan, Linscott and Associates for the video gaming division. “the business doesn’t now have alternative arrangements that are financing place should ELS Gaming decide not to acquire an 80% interest.”

Tom Auther, managing member of JACOR, the owner of Arizona Downs, said the information in the Gaming Department report was somewhat out of date.

He said the track’s operations were not in jeopardy, and Tuesday afternoon, the track announced a deal with Peninsula Pacific Entertainment to conduct 32 race days this year, from June to September.

But he said that offering racing that is historic however assist the business.

“We Would like for that bill to pass,”.

Meanwhile was said by him, neither the House sports bill that is betting the Senate horse track bill have actually relocated in times.

Sports wagering might nevertheless have the possibility in home Bill 2772. The bill sponsored by Rep. Jeff Weninger, R-Chandler, would need to pass a floor vote in its own chamber, then move to the Senate and not be assigned to Gowan’s committee.

The to avoid Gowan’s committee and entangling sports betting with historic horse racing benefit of introducing mirror bills in each chamber is to avoid moves that are such one chamber to some other, but inaddition it provides supporters two possibilities to navigate the Legislature.

Gowan would not get back a request for remark.

Ducey nevertheless confident in plan

Ducey isn’t faith that is losing getting what he wants in sports betting and new tribal compacts.

“Nothing is easy in politics or in the legislative process,” Ducey said in an interview with The Republic’s political podcast, The Gaggle, this week. “This has been, over the course of time, somewhat of a hot-button issue.”

He said despite the trouble with the bills, accomplishing a “modernization” of gambling in the state is likely.

Arizona tribes can offer card that is only such as for instance blackjack and poker underneath the present agreements. The amendments Ducey has negotiated would consist of brand new games such as for instance baccarat, craps, roulette and gaming that is mobile according to the Governor’s Office.

Meanwhile, the sportsbook bills Ducey supports would allow for 10 license holders to set up sportsbooks in or near major sports stadiums, as well as provide 10 licenses to tribes to set up sportsbooks. Online and mobile betting on sports would be allowed.

The sportsbook license holders could contract with online wagering companies such as FanDuel Group or DraftKings, both of which support the measure.

Twenty states and Washington, D.C. now allow sports betting, while it’s legal but not yet operational in five others. Fourteen more states have pending legislation, according to the American Gaming Association.

The bills also would allow organizations like veteran’s groups to host gambling that is fantasy-league and include a keno game to your state lottery.

“There’s plenty of various things it is possible to point at which will be way more difficult or problematic,” Ducey stated for the work to grow gambling. “Let this inhale a bit that is little. We are going to be transparent on this.”Asked about the number that is“unspecified of brand new gambling enterprises which will be permitted in Ducey’s tribal lightweight negotiations, the governor would not provide particulars. A minumum of one casino that is new planned in Glendale, while it remains unknown if other tribes could also try to build new casinos in metro Phoenix.“Arizona will remain Arizona. We will keep the culture that we have in the continuing state,” Ducey stated. “there was video gaming available. It really is in the reservations … . We don’t think you are going to notice a lot of a significant difference on the floor within the continuing state of Arizona.”Reporters Ronald J. Hansen and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez contributed to the report.Reach reporter Ryan

Randazzo at ryan.

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