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In states where gambling is legal, oversight is always needed to ensure betting operations are conducted in a legitimate manner. In AZ, this responsibility falls on the Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG).

This piece will take a look a look at how the Arizona Department of Gaming works, what forms of gambling fall under the agency’s jurisdiction, and how the ADG benefits the state’s economy.

What is the Arizona Department of Gaming?

The Arizona Department of Gaming is the governing body tasked with overseeing gambling operations in AZ. It was created in 1995 by the Arizona Legislature as the regulatory body while also working with the Arizona Office of Problem Gambling (AOPG) to combat gambling addiction in the state.

In addition to enforcing the state’s gambling laws, the ADG also assists local law enforcement in investigating claims of illegal gambling activities. The agency also frequently audits gambling operators to ensure all betting equipment is working properly and wagering events are run in a fair and safe manner for all involved.

What forms of gambling does the Arizona Department of Gaming regulate?

The following forms of gambling are regulated by the Arizona Department of Gaming:

  • AZ online sports betting
  • Retail sports betting
  • Pari-mutuel horse race wagering
  • Boxing
  • Mixed martial arts
  • Tribal casino gaming

Does the Arizona Department of Gaming regulate online casino gaming?

No, the Arizona Department of Gaming does not regulate online casino gaming, but this is because real-money online casino gambling is illegal under state law. However, should state law change to permit this form of gambling, it is a virtual certainty that the ADG would oversee online casino operations.

How can one apply for a gambling license in Arizona?

There are two types of gambling licenses in Arizona: one is for vendor certification while the other is for gambling facility employees. According to the Arizona Department of Gaming website, “State Certification (Non Tribal), State Recommendation (Tribal) and/or a Tribal Gaming License are required by the Arizona Tribal-State Gaming Compact (Compact) before an individual may be employed by a gaming facility in Arizona.”

Individuals looking to apply for a gambling license in Arizona may do so by submitting an application through the secure online portal at ADGconnect.force.com. If you have questions or concerns about your application, you can call 480-403-1262 or email [email protected].

How does the Arizona Department of Gaming ensure responsible gambling practices?

The Arizona Department of Gaming ensures responsible gambling practices through a two-pronged approach. One angle focuses on overseeing gambling operators while the other involves ensuring there are resources available for individuals to participate in betting activities in a safe and responsible manner.

At an operator level, the ADG will conduct auditory inspections on gambling devices and electronic monitoring systems to ensure games are fair and function within the boundaries of state regulations. It will also ensure that casino records are accurate and securely maintained.

On an individual level, the Arizona Department of Gaming maintains a gambling self-exclusion program where players can prohibit themselves from entering the state’s tribal casinos. While this program does not extend to sports betting, this is a great first step to take for those who are currently combatting a gambling addiction or for those who are at high risk of developing such an addiction.

What are the penalties for violating gaming regulations in Arizona?

The penalties for violating gaming regulations in Arizona depend on the nature of the infraction. They also are different depending on whether the offense was committed by an individual or a gaming operator.

For example, individuals who gamble or attempt to gamble while underage in Arizona could be subject to driver’s license suspension, fines, community service, and/or jail time. Typically, operators found to have committed violations have fines levied against them by the Arizona Department of Gaming but could risk losing their gambling license if the offense is severe enough.

How does the Arizona Department of Gaming contribute to the state's economy?

As part of the Arizona Tribal-State Gaming Compacts, the Arizona Department of Gaming collects a percentage of the state’s casino profits each year and disburses the funds at the state, county, city, and town levels. From this percentage, 12 percent of the funds are distributed to cities, towns, and counties chosen by the tribes while the remaining 88 percent of the money goes to the Arizona Benefits Fund.

Recipients of the Arizona Benefits Fund include the Instructional Improvement Fund, the Trauma and Emergency Services Fund, the Wildlife Conservation Fund, and the Tourism Fund. Additionally, 2% of funds go to combatting problem gambling in AZ.

As of March 2024, the ADG has sent $1.897 billion to the Arizona Benefits Fund.