Arizona Governor Doug Ducey wants to modernize the state’s gambling system and renew the compacts with Native American tribes.
Arizona To Update Gambling System
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey wants to modernize and update the state’s gambling legislature.
On Wednesday, Mr. Ducey submitted a document to Arizona lawmakers. In the document, Mr. Ducey states that he has managed to negotiate a new compact with Arizona’s Native American tribes, which currently hold the exclusive right to operate casino wagering within the state.
According to Mr. Ducey, the new agreement will be beneficial for both the State of Arizona as well as for the tribes. The tribes would see a substantial boost in gambling revenue, which would in turn translate to higher tax revenue for the state.
Mr. Ducey’s press aide C. J. Karamargin explained that the Governor’s goal is to modernize Arizona’s gambling environment.
According to him, the current setup was implemented in a very different time and simply does not fit the modern landscape. He pointed specifically to the dramatic rise in the importance and ubiquity of cellphones. The proposal intends to reflect the way that people live their lives today, Mr. Karamargin continued.
Mr. Ducey is likely trying to capitalize on the upcoming expiration of the current 20-year compacts. They were approved by voters in 2002 and will expire next year. Revising the compacts is an excellent opportunity to secure additional income for the state without introducing new taxes.
The renewal is also important for Arizona’s tribes, as it would maintain the revenue flow. The renegotiations do not need voter support.
The overall landscape of gaming has changed dramatically over the years as well, given the advancement of technology, legislature and developments on the gambling market itself. One of the most pivotal moments that pushed this transformation into high gear is the US Supreme Court’s 2018 decision to overturn the blanket ban on wagering.
The pandemic is another important factor in the changes we are seeing today. The pandemic has impacted just about every aspect of the economies of the US states. Now, many of them are looking to online gambling as a means of rebuilding after the financial downturn. Not only that, but states with difficult relationships to gambling are pushing harder for its legalization.
Mr. Ducey has been interested in using gambling as an additional revenue source for the state for some time now. In 2018, he tried to fund part of the teacher pay package with keno. Keno is a game where players choose a series of numbers then see how many of them matched those generated by a computer. The game is already offered on reservation casinos.
Mr. Ducey wanted to implement keno outside of the reservations, but the plan fell through as it conflicted with guidelines set in the tribal compacts. The renewal could be used to remove such clauses, as long as the tribes see a benefit in the new agreement.