An alleged illegal gambling operation situated in North Phoenix was shut down by the Arizona Department of Gaming.
All Gambling is Illegal Unless Specifically Excluded from Illegality. Gambling is defined in Arizona Revised Statutes (“A.R.S.”) § 13-3301(4) to require risking something of value for an opportunity to win a benefit, which is awarded by chance. As provided by A.R.S. § 13-3302, all gambling is illegal in Arizona unless a statute. The police arrested 15 men and seven women, aged between 28 and 80, during an enforcement operation against illegal gambling and betting on Saturday (Nov 28). The operation, which was conducted by Woodlands Police Division in Yishun and Woodlands estates, saw ten men, aged between 47 and 80, get arrested for offences under the Betting Act.
According to a news release of the Department of Gaming, a couple of days ago, police raided and searched Toso’s Sports Bar and Grill and Real Poker in Phoenix in an action commissioned by the Arizona Department of Gaming. The raid warrant came as a result of a seven-month-long investigation of the Department under suspicions that illegal gambling operation has been taking place at the aforementioned location.
As seen on a flier provided by investigators, the business, located near the I-17 and Union Hills Drive, has been advertising itself as a gambling and social club which services were provided to “members only”.
As revealed by officials, the allegedly illegal gambling machines were seized by police officers along with the proceeds. In addition, multiple suspects could also face charges of a class-five felony offense, which could include illegal control of a gambling hub, promotion and benefiting from gambling activities, as well as unlawful possession of a gambling device.
The seized illegal gambling devices and gambling proceeds are to be submitted as evidence to the pending charges at the state Attorney General’s Office.
Arizona Department of Gaming Ensures Gaming Compacts Are Not Violated
The Arizona Department of Gaming’s interim director James Ashley said in a news release that the Department remains focused on proper regulation of the local gambling industry, protecting the public and making sure that the Gaming Compacts inked between the state and the local Indian tribes are complied with.
Mr. Ashley further shared that business owners who are found to be offering illegal gambling activities in their premises will face criminal investigation and could be stripped of their liquor and other business operating licenses.
For some time now, gambling campaigners have been trying to expand the state’s regulatory framework regarding gambling. However, for the time being, these attempts face the solid opposition of Arizona’s gaming tribes who have raised their voices against the proposed changes, claiming they violate their gaming compacts with the state. Under the deal, the local Indian tribes are provided with the exclusive right to operate and offer casino-style gambling in return to a share of their gambling profits.
At the end of 2018, a piece of legislation was filed by a state lawmaker for the 2019 legislative session, with the bill seeking to expand legal gambling operations in Arizona by lifting the ban on state-run Keno. According to the sponsor of the proposed bill, the gambling expansion would help the state get more money for its coffers without necessarily raising taxes.
Previously, another bill seeking to legalize Keno failed after the Navajo Nation opposed, saying that the proposed piece of legislation violated its gaming compact with the state.
Why Is Gambling Illegal
For what has seemingly been the entire history of the United States of America, its citizens have had a love affair with gambling. Whether this is a direct result of the legal ambiguity surrounding the hobby or the regulations came into play because the act was so popular is certainly up for debate, but the fact remains that even a responsibly enjoyed gambling hobby lives in a legal gray area all throughout the country. We discuss specifics of Arizona gambling laws to clear up this grey area.
Federal laws that govern the entire country are clear on the subject. When organized crime and racketeering was rampant, laws were passed that restricted the facilitation of many gambling games while leaving mere participants well enough alone. From there, many individual states in the union took it upon themselves to further restrict and regulate gambling acts. The state of Arizona was one such state, and therefore its residents have to pay closer attention to the Arizona gambling laws more than those in other states.
With that in mind, ArizonaGamblingLaws was created with the aim to help guide Arizona residents through the rocky terrain of their legal landscape concerning gambling as well as to help steer them towards means that will allow them to enjoy an exciting hobby gambling responsibly as safely as possible. Gambling can be both fun as well as potentially profitable, and there is no reason anyone interested in participating should have to miss out.
Legality of Gambling in Arizona: Can You Get In Trouble?
Whereas federal law sees fit to merely regulate the facilitation of gambling, Arizona gambling laws take this principle one step further and goes so far as to define and even criminalize the act of unregulated gambling within its borders. Section 13-3301, heading four defines gambling as “risking or giving something of value for the opportunity to obtain a benefit from a game or contest of chance or skill or a future contingent event.”
First, the bad news. This is, unfortunately, an all-encompassing definition that eliminates all of the popular forms of gambling with unregulated vendors. Even worse, later on in the legislative document, there is even a punishment outlined for the act of placing any bets or wagers in relation to what the law has already defined as “gambling.” In Arizona, unregulated gambling is defined as a class 1 misdemeanor, which generally carries a $2,500 fine and up to six months in jail.
Now for the good news. If an Arizona resident is interested in merely participating in gambling, they will generally be safe from prosecution. In fact, at no point in the history of the state or their legislation has an otherwise honest citizen ever been brought up on charges for merely betting or wagering. This penalty has only been used to add charges up on already established criminals. Just so long as an Arizona resident is not brought in as any sort of a professional criminal, they should remain safe from the arm of the law.
However, this is not to say that all gambling related offenders would be safe in the state of Arizona. In fact, if one is found guilty of “promoting gambling” as defined in chapter 13-3303 in the document is a class 5 felony in the state which can be met with over two years in a state prison. Arizona residents should take extreme care to avoid this act.
Illegal Gambling Bust
Facilitation of Gambling For Profit vs. For Entertainment
Happily, there is a huge difference between these two actions even though they are only separated by one simple word.
The definition of gambling is simple and has already been outlined. Gambling is when one participates in any game or speculation involving a bet or wager. In Arizona, this encompasses betting on sports, betting on any casino table games of chance such as blackjack or roulette, or even wagering on hands of poker.
In order to do this, one will have to find a party willing to take their bet, operate their casino game, or host their poker game. This person would be fulfilling most of the requirements of “promoting” gambling already. The last distinction to make between the two acts is that the party who is hosting the game or taking the bet must also be making a profit off of the gambling activity.
To be clear, making a profit off of the gambling activity does not mean wagering and winning in a playing field where the odds are even. For example, if an Arizona resident is hosting a social poker game in their home and they win a few hands, they are not automatically guilty of “promoting” gambling. Making a profit means that the host of the game is in a position to profit off of gambling even without betting or wagering.
Examples of this include operating any casino game as the “house” (by definition in all table games, the house always has the best odds to win,) operating or maintaining a sportsbook where the offender takes bets from all players and assumes the responsibility of paying out winners, or operating a poker game in which admission is charged for the privilege to play or a “rake” (a small percentage of each hand collected by the house as profit) is collected from the table.
With these parameters clearly established, it would be highly unlikely any Arizona resident could find themselves inadvertently promoting gambling. Taking this into consideration along with the fact that the mere act of gambling is rarely if ever prosecuted and it should be easy to avoid any legal attention via a responsible gambling hobby.
Gambling Laws + Statutes That Affect Arizona Residents
Back in 1992, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was passed through federal courts. This banned the facilitation of all sports betting, but exempted four states. Unfortunately, Arizona was not one of them. Therefore, there are no leally operating sports betting rings found on land within the state of Arizona, but it’s worth noting that long time senator John McCain is a big proponent of legalizing sports betting on a federal level.
In the meantime, since the laws against sports betting are not heavily enforced in Arizona, thousands of residents are able to enjoy their hobby through the use of legal online sportsbooks that are maintained overseas and carry no legal risks.
According to Arizona gambling laws, the state will not budge in its position against all forms of gambling, including casino games. However, there are several legal casinos within Arizona that are exempt under the Indian Gaming Act. Arizona residents are free to visit these facilities and gamble within their premises, with the understanding that they won’t exactly be standing in the most glamorous halls and lobbies of all time.
Meanwhile, due to the relaxed state of gambling enforcement of the state of Arizona, anyone is free to join the thousands or Arizona residents who already gamble with legal online casinos while running no substantial legal risk.
Due to the extreme popularity of poker and the profitability of state sanctioned poker rooms, many states make an exception for the game of poker by classifying it as a game of skill rather than chance. Arizona is not such a state, and therefore there are no state sanctioned poker rooms.
However, the eyes of the law do not reach into the private homes of Arizona residents. In addition to legal online poker rooms (which while gambling with is technically illegal, is not enforced) the law provides exceptions for social poker games, which is usually the most popular option for playing poker. Granted, residents may not take much money home since high stakes poker games rank among the best way to lose friends, but it’s good to know that Friday night cards and beers are a sacred thing in Arizona.
Arizona Gambling Age: How Old Do I need To Be To Play?
If an Arizona resident reading this page takes one thing away from it, they should take that the legal situation for gambling in their home state is complicated at best. This being the case, they should not want to complicate matters any further by gambling underage.
The legal age to gamble in Arizona is 21, and we strongly recommend all residents wait until they are of that age to take part in gambling. Those found gambling underage will not only be banned from whichever facility they are using for gambling, but will face steep legal fines as well as potential jail time.
Where to Legally Gamble in Arizona
On-Land: While the Arizona legislature does not allow state sanctioned gambling within their borders, there are a few options for Arizona residents who wish to gamble in a casino environment.
The state is home to several tribal casinos, all which offer slots, a variety of table games, and poker rooms for both sit and go tournaments and scheduled poker tourneys. While these facilities are a bit spread out for a state the size of Arizona, it could be well worthwhile for an afternoon away or a fun weekend of gambling. However, for residents who wish to gamble more regularly for shorter periods of time, they may not be the most practical option.
Online/Web-Based: While unregulated gambling in Arizona is something not permitted by the state, it is cannot be proven when using an operator outside the state located in another country. The need for this is a result of there being a distinct lack of options within the state. This has caused thousands to turn to legal online gambling networks to satisfy their needs.
Since these gambling websites are all established and maintained on foreign territories, they are exempt not only from Arizona gambling law, but from the federal laws that tend to crack down hard on facilities that offer gambling to regular citizens.
While the idea of gambling with a foreign entity may make some Arizona residents nervous, there is no need to fret. Since these gambling sites operate legally in their home country, they must be certified by international gaming commissions. This assures that not only will all of their members receive fair play, but that payouts from these sites will processed legitimately and quickly.
These are legitimate business that have been operating and catering to US clientele for over a decade. In that time they have earned pristine reputations, pages of positive customer testimony, and endorsements from major US media giants like ESPN, FOX, and CBS. These reputations are not earned easily or overnight, but through long years of providing excellent products paired with great customer service.
Best Legal Gambling Site For Arizona Residents
#1 Site For Casino Games, Poker & Sports/Horse Betting
When Arizona residents who are active in the gambling community think safe, legal online gambling, they think of Bovada. This is no mere coincidence or happy accident, this gambling website for Arizona residents has been hard at work providing the best possible sportsbook, poker rooms and digital casinos for over 20 years and in that time they have learned how to operate discretely and how to best serve the interest of clients from Arizona.
For instance, the Bovada gambling network was among the first to realize that Americans carry their most powerful computers around with them in their pocket. This led to the creation of the powerful Bovada mobile site that has yet to be topped in the industry. Now, Arizona residents can play poker, casino games, or bet on sports from anywhere in the world they have a phone signal with no need to interrupt their daily routine or glue themselves to a clunky laptop or desktop computer. Bovada truly has the best needs of the bettor at heart!
Other Recommended Arizona Betting Sites
Need More Help? time To Call In The Pros!
Although we are confident that all of the information on this page is in line with how things really are in relation to Arizona gambling laws, we here at ArizonaGamblingLaws.com admit that we are not lawyers, and have no formal legal training. While we are extremely experienced, we urge readers not to consider this as legal advice and to seek professional council if they are unsure about a particular type of gaming activity. The other option we present is checking the Arizona gambling statutes for yourself by clicking through to www.azleg.gov, which contains the exact language of the laws. It may take a little extra time to decipher the legal jargon, but it is time well spent if it helps you stay safe in your gambling endeavors.