Tribal casinos in Arizona are nothing new, but a new tribal state pact extends the types of gambling allowed. Tribal casinos can now offer a full range of Vegas style games as well as sports betting.
Tribal casino expansion
The old tribal state agreement with the Arizona Indians only allowed a limited number of slot machines and very few table games. Only poker and blackjack tables were allowed.
This type of tribal casino falls under Class II gaming regulations. But as sports betting spread to the United States, it was time to negotiate new deals with the tribal states in Arizona. The tribes wanted to raise the bar towards a Class III casino license, which also allows Vegas-style forms of gambling and sports betting.
The new compact lifts the restrictions of the 20-year-old compact and increases the number of slots allowed and allows table games with craps, roulette, baccarat, pai gow, and more. The new tribal pact will be valid for 20 years, with automatic renewal after 10 years.
The new regulations allow the Department of Gaming to issue up to 20 sports betting licenses in the state of Arizona. Half of these licenses will be distributed among the tribes, and the other half will go to professional sports franchises.
Tribal games in Arizona
Sixteen tribes operate 25 casinos across Arizona. Representatives of these 16 tribes met with Arizona Governor Doug Ducey on Thursday to sign the new pact.
According to a report by Arizona mirror, the new tribal pact had been in the making for years. The new pact is the product of more than five years of negotiations between the state and its tribes.
“Getting here took a lot of work and was not guaranteed. Today’s signing is the culmination of years of discussion and engagement among many diverse stakeholders – both rural and urban tribal communities, gaming industry partners, and more, ”a said Ducey. “We did it by bringing everyone to the table, setting aside individual agendas and putting Arizona first.”
With so many tribes involved in the negotiation, it was not easy to find agreements acceptable to the state and all parties involved. The governor of the Indian community of Gila River, Stephen Roe Lewis, described a “difficult journey fraught with arguments and disagreements”.
“We’re united today in a way that I didn’t think was possible five years ago when we started,” Lewis said.
Tribal-state pacts describe the extent of permitted gambling and the amount of income accruing to the tribe and the state in the form of taxes. Since tribal lands are self-governing territories overseen by the Federal Home Office, states and tribes must reduce tribal gaming rights in the form of tribal-state agreements.
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