Like most states in the U.S., Arizona online poker laws and legislation can have different interpretations applied to them. For example, the Arizona Department of Gaming – the department responsible for regulating all gambling activities in Arizona – recently published a document stipulating:
All gambling is illegal unless specifically excluded from legality .
However, the document quotes Arizona Revised Statute §13-3301(4) which defines gambling as
risking something of value for an opportunity to win a benefit which is awarded by chance. This would suggest games of skill are excluded from the general prohibition – a suggestion that gains credence under the Statutes relating to Amusement Gambling, which exclude player-vs-player contests in which
skill and not chance is clearly the predominant factor in the game .
Can Players From Arizona Play Poker Online?
Assuming that online poker is a game of skill (which is in no way guaranteed to be an accurate assumption) players from Arizona should not have too many problems when it comes to finding an online poker room. All US-facing online poker rooms accept players from Arizona. The only issue you may encounter is funding your account due to UIGEA. However, online poker rooms are continually introducing new and easy ways how to fund your poker account so this is not too much of an issue.
Is it Legal to Play Poker Online in Arizona?
Due to our interpretation of the law playing poker in Arizona is not illegal. However, we are not the authority on this issue, and if you are concerned about the legality of playing online poker you should research this thoroughly and contact your local authorities for clear directions. We do know that to date no individual has ever been prosecuted for playing online poker in Arizona.
Arizona is more open to gambling than a lot of other states. It has twenty-two tribal casinos, state-sanctioned horseracing, and fifty-five licensed Off-Track Betting parlors  that not only are allowed to simulcast horseracing action from around the country, but are also allowed to take bets over the phone . Live poker games are run in fifteen of the state´s tribal casinos.
Arizona Gambling History
As Arizona was not incorporated into the U. S. until 1912, there is not a lot of historic gambling legislation. Much of it relates to failed attempts to regulate gambling, as with the first attempt to regulate on-course pari-mutuel wagering for horse and dog racing in 1924. Pari-mutuel wagering was eventually regulated in 1949. Other dates in Arizona Gambling History include:
- In 1940, an attempt to regulate, license and tax all forms of gambling is defeated at the ballot box by a 62%/38% majority . A similar attempt failed by a wider margin in 1950 .
- In 1980, a proposal to operate a state lottery received the approval of Arizona voters by a narrow majority . Proposals to extend the lottery has since been received more favorably.
- In 1992, the first compacts were signed between the state and sixteen tribal nations allowing Class III gaming on tribal lands. The compacts are now renewed every ten years .
- In 2014, an amendment to Arizona´s Revised Statutes that would have created a carve-out for Daily Fantasy Sports is opposed by Tribal Nations and fails to pass.
Will Arizona Regulate Online Poker in the Future?
In the near future, it is highly unlikely Arizona will regulate online poker, despite its proximity to Nevada and the recent repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. Like so many other states, the issue resolves around tribal gaming interests and other third parties wanting to get a slice of revenue from regulated gambling.
Undoubtedly tribal gaming interests will want exclusivity over offering sports betting, but their wishes will likely be opposed by operators of Off-Track Betting parlors. Even if a compromise solution is found, there is no guarantee online poker will be included in any sports betting legislation. One other factor to consider is that tribal gaming compacts are not due to be renegotiated until 2022, so nothing at all is likely to happen in the near future.
- Arizona Department of Gaming - Gaming Statutes (PDF)
- Arizona Revised Statutes §13-3301(1)(d)(iv)
- Location of Licensed Off-Track Betting Parlors in Arizona
- SB1282 Allowing Advanced Deposit Wagering and Telephone Betting
- Arizona Legalization of Gambling, Proposition 8 (1940)
- Arizona Regulation of Gambling, Proposition 6 (1950)
- Arizona State Lottery Statute, Proposition 200 (1980)
- History of Tribal Gaming in Arizona