Orrick Public Policy Group Leads Arizona Sports Betting Bill to Victory

June.04.2021

Orrick’s Public Policy Practice played an instrumental role in shaping Arizona’s first-of-its-kind gaming expansion legislation, which passed its final hurdle this week.

Arizona Gov. Ducey signed a bill into law on April 15 that will authorize Native American tribes and professional sports teams to offer mobile sports betting in Arizona and legalize fantasy sports. The U.S. Department of the Interior on May 31 approved the framework, necessary because of the state’s tribal gaming compact, which was set to expire in 2022. As a result, sports betting could begin in Arizona as soon as this summer.

Our public policy team played a crucial role in educating the governor and lawmakers on the economic value of modernizing gaming through mobile sports betting, which was a key component of the negotiations given the early success states have had in the wake of overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”). Months of advocacy opened this new market on behalf of clients Major League Baseball, the NBA, and PGA TOUR, as well as leading sports entertainment platforms BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel.

In addition to allowing multiple operators to compete in a well-regulated marketplace, the legislation includes some of the strongest sports betting integrity provisions to protect professional sports and consumers. Uniquely, the law allows for professional sports teams to obtain licenses directly through the regulatory process, a landmark policy geared towards promoting fan engagement that we anticipate will be adopted by other states considering mobile betting models.

Senior strategist Michelle McGann and associate Julie Pearlman led the Arizona effort, with partners Jeremy Kudon, Scott Ward, and Nick Green overseeing the campaign.