Arizona, Hawaii Join Growing List Of States With Sports Betting Bills

Posted on January 29, 2019 - Last Updated on February 20, 2020

Arizona and Hawaii became the most recent states in the US to introduce sports betting bills into their legislatures last week. Legislators in both states filed plans Jan. 23 to allow wagering on sporting events.

The filings make the two states the latest with some plans to look at sports betting in 2019. Several states throughout the country hope to join the eight states already home to sports betting.

The two newest sports betting bills have very different approaches

Arizona and Hawaii are two states unused to sharing any sorts of headlines. In fact, they are on opposite sides of each other in almost every way, from geographically to socially to politically.

In that regard, the bills are equally disparate from one another. Arizona’s bill is merely an extension of existing infrastructure, while Hawaii’s must create an entire industry out of thin air.


Arizona’s sports betting bill takes advantage of the existing tribal casino situation in the state. First and foremost, the bill (S 1158) would allow the operators of the state’s 24 tribal casinos to offer sports betting onsite.

However, the bill does not stop its expansion at the casinos alone. Also, it provides for the introduction of sports betting kiosks at bars and other approved establishments.

Other tidbits from the proposed bill include a 6.75 percent tax rate, matching that of Nevada. There is also language that may ultimately render wagering on collegiate events illegal.


Hawaii’s sports betting bill (H 1107) is a much more extensive piece of legislation. It would serve to create the Hawaii Sports Wagering Corporation to oversee sports betting in the state.

Furthermore, the bill goes on to outline the request for proposal process for determining a vendor for the infrastructure. The selected provider will have the daunting task of creating an entire sports betting apparatus from nothing.

Actually, Hawaii’s entrance into the sports betting conversation is likely the most shocking yet. Hawaii and Utah are the only two states that have had no legal gambling whatsoever up to this point.

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Sports betting bills an unlikely tie between states

However, the advent of sports betting and its incumbent profitability are hard to ignore for states with budget deficits. The dismissal of PASPA has created a space for some very strange bedfellows, indeed.

As it stands, the majority of states in the country have some involvement with legalized sports betting at this point. Hard as it is to believe, more than two dozen states have active sports betting or bills in their legislatures right now.

Here’s the list:

Active sports betting

Legalized but not implemented yet

Partially legalized but not implemented yet

Bill(s) introduced into state legislatures

In other words, no matter where you live in America, sports betting is likely coming soon to a venue near you.

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Bart Shirley

Bart Shirley is a writer and poker player from Houston, Texas. Bart writes about the NJ online casino industry and US online poker. He has a master's degree in business administration from Texas Christian University and a degree in English from Texas A&M.

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