Arizona Online Poker
Much like some other US states, Arizona residents have no direct state guidelines that they can follow when it comes to online poker sites. UIGEA restricts financial transactions with regards to internet gambling, but there is nothing under AZ law pertaining to poker sites specifically. In short, things are unclear.
The Grand Canyon State’s biggest link to federal gambling law comes through its former Senator Jon Kyl. Kyl was regarded as one of the driving forces behind UIGEA, however this only affected federal law, and even then his attitude appeared to mellow in the years leading up to his retirement in 2013.
Online poker play is covered to a degree under Arizona law, with guidelines outlining that it can be done for ‘entertainment’ purposes only. However even this is unclear, and all we can really be sure about is the fact that no online poker in Arizona has been penalized for playing the game they love over the internet.
Arizona, whose motto is ‘Ditat Deus’, also has a stronger land-based gambling history than many other states. Casino Arizona is the most well-known of its various Indian casinos, many of which offer poker tournaments and cash games and on occasion attract out-of-towners looking for a good poker game. However none of these venues have shown the same desire as bricks and mortar casino operators in neighboring Nevada to take a slice of the legal online poker pie.
What does Jon Kyl’s support for UIGEA mean for Arizona legal online poker?
Very little, by the looks of it. Senator Kyl may have had plenty of sway on the federal side of things, helping push through UIGEA back in 2006, but there has been no suggestion that his influence was ever felt at a state level when it came to laws surrounding legal poker sites.
Could Nevada’s regulation of online poker speed things along in AZ?
While Arizona shares a border with Nevada, lawmakers in the Grand Canyon State have not spoken out one way or another in discussions of the legal online poker framework in Nevada. That said, Arizona certainly does seem like an obvious candidate if Nevada convinces more and more states to make the move towards legal online poker: both states have a history of land-based gambling, and while Arizona’s is not as strong as Nevada’s, it may well look to steal a march over some of the States in the online poker stakes.
What do the Indian casinos feel about online poker?
Legal poker sites in Arizona are not really on the Indian casinos’ agenda at present. They are more than happy making money from the variety of casino games on offer at their land-based venues (including poker, of course), so there is no urgency to get on board with legal poker sites. Essentially it is a risk that they have no need to take.
Would Arizona opt in to federal online poker legislation
Both horse racing and dog racing are legal in Arizona, as well as charity gambling. This is a relatively clear indication that Arizona is far more welcoming to gambling than certain other states, particularly those in the Bible Belt. With this in mind, it would be unwise to rule out the possibility of the state making progress on legal online poker. Whether this amounts to standalone legal poker sites in Arizona, or progress as part of an America-wide program remains to be seen. However one would think that, even if in-state online poker does not come into being, progress at a federal level would see players able to access the best poker sites in Arizona.