Daily Fantasy Sports operators continue to try and find their niche in one of the most gambling-prohibitive states in the country. Arizona remains stoic against attempts by these operators to campaign for a change in the laws in order to legally serve those players who enjoy DFS in the state. Despite the fact that Daily Fantasy Sports has grown significantly in popularity in the past few years in Arizona, two previous attempts to pass legislation that will allow residents to win cash or prizes, have failed.
According to an attorney that specializes in gaming laws, Heidi McNeil Staudenmaaier, “Arizona is probably among the most restrictive states in the country for limiting what is permitted as gambling.”
Studenmaeier added that Arizona was not looking to expand gambling “unless it is done very carefully and on a limited basis and to assure that it’s regulated.” She said that to get over the DFS issue, all stakeholders needed to “get comfortable with it to assure that it is permissible and that is of benefit of everybody.”
The question is how one would define ‘permissible’.
A DFS operator who offers fantasy sports betting to players located outside of Arizona said: “If you go to 10 attorneys in the state of Arizona and ask ‘Are fantasy sports legal or illegal?’, you’re going to get 10 different opinions.” The operator said that Arizona is a grey area state; however for many companies, specifically DFS operators and companies with cash games, the state is too much of a grey area to risk getting in trouble.
“That’s why they don’t offer these games to residents in Arizona,” said the operator in an interview to Ktar News.
Those who do play DFS games for real money, wager an average of $556 per year, although those based in Arizona are only allowed to ‘play for fun’.
The state’s Attorney General, Mark Brnovich has made no pretense of Arizona’s position on DFS.
He said that the state has “a strong stance against internet gambling, which is where daily fantasy sports betting falls.”
While state legislation makes it difficult to gamble in Arizona, the fact is that residents of the state enjoy a proliferation of casinos thanks to no less than 23 that operate on tribal land within the state. The state enjoys around $100 million annually from these casinos, says the Arizona Indian Gaming Association.