Arizona has a history of failing to keep up with the latest developments in the gambling world. When the Indian Regulatory Gaming Act of 1988 was passed, the local Indian tribes began to offer casino games without signing any deals with the local authorities.
In May 1992, the National Indian Gaming Commission prohibited Indian casinos from offering slots without signing a compact with the appropriate state. As a result, governor Fife Symington asked the FBI to raid all Indian gambling establishments. The Indians decided to defend their property, and after a tense three-week standoff, the local tribes and the Arizona government came to an agreement. In the end, Arizona signed casino deals with 22 out of the 23 local tribes.
The current situation is not as dramatic, but the law isn’t well-adjusted to reality. Tribal casinos aside, most forms of land-based gambling are illegal in Arizona. The only exceptions include the state-operated lottery and wagering on horse and dog races, which is available exclusively on track. You can also engage in charitable games of bingo, raffles, and casino nights.
Internet gambling is unregulated, and local lawmakers don’t seem interested in changing the status quo. Most offshore sites, such as Bovada or BetOnline, accept Arizona-based gamblers, but the legality of such activities can be questioned due to the state’s land-based gambling regulations. All in all, while online gambling is present in Arizona, it exists in a legal grey area.
Gambling-related matters are covered by Arizona Revised Statutes ARS 13-3301 et seq. and ARS 5-101 et seq. The minimum gambling age is 21.
Arizona Revised Statutes
In this title, unless the context otherwise requires, “accomplice” means a person, other than a peace officer acting in his official capacity within the scope of his authority and in the line of duty, who with the intent to promote or facilitate the commission of an offense:
1. Solicits or commands another person to commit the offense; or
2. Aids, counsels, agrees to aid or attempts to aid another person in planning or committing the offense.
3. Provides means or opportunity to another person to commit the offense.
13-303. Criminal liability based upon conduct of another
A. A person is criminally accountable for the conduct of another if:
1. The person is made accountable for such conduct by the statute defining the offense; or
2. Acting with the culpable mental state sufficient for the commission of the offense, such person causes another person, whether or not such other person is capable of forming the culpable mental state, to engage in such conduct; or
3. The person is an accomplice of such other person in the commission of an offense including any offense that is a natural and probable or reasonably foreseeable consequence of the offense for which the person was an accomplice.
B. If causing a particular result is an element of an offense, a person who acts with the kind of culpability with respect to the result that is sufficient for the commission of the offense is guilty of that offense if:
1. The person solicits or commands another person to engage in the conduct causing such result; or
2. The person aids, counsels, agrees to aid or attempts to aid another person in planning or engaging in the conduct causing such result.
(Caution: 1998 Prop. 105 applies)
In this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
1. “Amusement gambling ” means gambling involving a device, game or contest which is played for entertainment if all of the following apply:
(a) The player or players actively participate in the game or contest or with the device.
(b) The outcome is not in the control to any material degree of any person other than the player or players.
(c) The prizes are not offered as a lure to separate the player or players from their money.
(d) Any of the following:
(i) No benefit is given to the player or players other than an immediate and unrecorded right to replay which is not exchangeable for value.
(ii) The gambling is an athletic event and no person other than the player or players derives a profit or chance of a profit from the money paid to gamble by the player or players.
(iii) The gambling is an intellectual contest or event, the money paid to gamble is part of an established purchase price for a product, no increment has been added to the price in connection with the gambling event and no drawing or lottery is held to determine the winner or winners.
(iv) Skill and not chance is clearly the predominant factor in the game and the odds of winning the game based upon chance cannot be altered, provided the game complies with any licensing or regulatory requirements by the jurisdiction in which it is operated, no benefit for a single win is given to the player or players other than a merchandise prize which has a wholesale fair market value of less than ten dollars or coupons which are redeemable only at the place of play and only for a merchandise prize which has a fair market value of less than ten dollars and, regardless of the number of wins, no aggregate of coupons may be redeemed for a merchandise prize with a wholesale fair market value of greater than five hundred fifty dollars.
2. “Conducted as a business ” means gambling that is engaged in with the object of gain, benefit or advantage, either direct or indirect, realized or unrealized, but not when incidental to a bona fide social relationship.
3. “Crane game ” means an amusement machine which is operated by player controlled buttons, control sticks or other means, or a combination of the buttons or controls, which is activated by coin insertion into the machine and where the player attempts to successfully retrieve prizes with a mechanical or electromechanical claw or device by positioning the claw or device over a prize.
4. “Gambling ” or “gamble ” means one act of risking or giving something of value for the opportunity to obtain a benefit from a game or contest of chance or skill or a future contingent event but does not include bona fide business transactions which are valid under the law of contracts including contracts for the purchase or sale at a future date of securities or commodities, contracts of indemnity or guarantee and life, health or accident insurance.
5. “Player ” means a natural person who participates in gambling.
6. “Regulated gambling ” means either:
(a) Gambling conducted in accordance with a tribal-state gaming compact or otherwise in accordance with the requirements of the Indian gaming regulatory act of 1988 (P.L. 100-497; 102 Stat. 2467; 25 United States Code sections 2701 through 2721 and 18 United States Code sections 1166 through 1168); or
(b) Gambling to which all of the following apply:
(i) It is operated and controlled in accordance with a statute, rule or order of this state or of the United States.
(ii) All federal, state or local taxes, fees and charges in lieu of taxes have been paid by the authorized person or entity on any activity arising out of or in connection with the gambling.
(iii) If conducted by an organization which is exempt from taxation of income under section 43-1201, the organization’s records are open to public inspection.
(iv) Beginning on June 1, 2003, none of the players is under twenty-one years of age.
7. “Social gambling” means gambling that is not conducted as a business and that involves players who compete on equal terms with each other in a gamble if all of the following apply:
(a) No player receives, or becomes entitled to receive, any benefit, directly or indirectly, other than the player’s winnings from the gamble.
(b) No other person receives or becomes entitled to receive any benefit, directly or indirectly, from the gambling activity, including benefits of proprietorship, management or unequal advantage or odds in a series of gambles.
(c) Until June 1, 2003, none of the players is below the age of majority. Beginning on June 1, 2003, none of the players is under twenty-one years of age.
(d) Players “compete on equal terms with each other in a gamble” when no player enjoys an advantage over any other player in the gamble under the conditions or rules of the game or contest.
13-3302. Exclusions [Effective until January 1, 2017]
A. The following conduct is not unlawful under this chapter:
1. Amusement gambling.
2. Social gambling.
3. Regulated gambling if the gambling is conducted in accordance with the statutes, rules or orders governing the gambling.
4. Gambling that is conducted at state, county or district fairs and that complies with section 13-3301, paragraph 1, subdivision (d).
B. An organization that has qualified for an exemption from taxation of income under section 43-1201, paragraph 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10 or 11 may conduct a raffle that is subject to the following restrictions:
1. The nonprofit organization shall maintain this status and no member, director, officer, employee or agent of the nonprofit organization may receive any direct or indirect pecuniary benefit other than being able to participate in the raffle on a basis equal to all other participants.
2. The nonprofit organization has been in existence continuously in this state for a five year period immediately before conducting the raffle.
3. No person except a bona fide local member of the sponsoring organization may participate directly or indirectly in the management, sales or operation of the raffle.
4. Nothing in paragraph 1 or 3 of this subsection prohibits a licensed general hospital or a licensed special hospital that is exempt from taxation of income under section 43-1201, paragraph 4 or section 501(c)(3) of the internal revenue code from contracting with an outside agent who participates in the management, sales or operation of the raffle if the proceeds of the raffle are used to fund medical research, graduate medical education or indigent care, provided that the raffles are conducted no more than three times per calendar year. The maximum fee for an outside agent shall not be greater than fifteen per cent of the net proceeds of the raffle.
C. A state, county or local historical society designated by this state or a county, city or town to conduct a raffle may conduct the raffle subject to the following conditions:
1. No member, director, officer, employee or agent of the historical society may receive any direct or indirect pecuniary benefit other than being able to participate in the raffle on a basis equal to all other participants.
2. The historical society must have been in existence continuously in this state for a five year period immediately before conducting the raffle.
3. No person except a bona fide local member of the sponsoring historical society may participate directly or indirectly in the management, sales or operation of the raffle.
13-3303. Promotion of gambling; classification
A. Except for amusement, regulated or social gambling, a person commits promotion of gambling if he knowingly does either of the following for a benefit:
1. Conducts, organizes, manages, directs, supervises or finances gambling.
2. Furnishes advice or assistance for the conduct, organization, management, direction, supervision or financing of gambling.
B. Promotion of gambling is a class 5 felony.
13-3304. Benefiting from gambling; classification
A. Except for amusement or regulated gambling, a person commits benefiting from gambling if he knowingly obtains any benefit from gambling.
B. Benefiting from social gambling as a player is not unlawful under this section.
C. Benefiting from gambling is a class 1 misdemeanor.
13-3305. Betting and wagering; classification
A. Subject to the exceptions contained in section 5-112, no person may engage for a fee, property, salary or reward in the business of accepting, recording or registering any bet, purported bet, wager or purported wager or engage for a fee, property, salary or reward in the business of selling wagering pools or purported wagering pools with respect to the result or purported result of any race, sporting event, contest or other game of skill or chance or any other unknown or contingent future event or occurrence whatsoever.
B. A person shall not directly or indirectly knowingly accept for a fee, property, salary or reward anything of value from another to be transmitted or delivered for wagering or betting on the results of a race, sporting event, contest or other game of skill or chance or any other unknown or contingent future event or occurrence whatsoever conducted within or without this state or anything of value as reimbursement for the prior making of such a wager or bet on behalf of another person.
C. A person who violates this section is guilty of a class 1 class misdemeanor.
13-3306. Possession of a gambling device; classification
A. A person commits possession of a gambling device if the person knowingly possesses, distributes or transports any implement, machine, paraphernalia, equipment or other thing that the person knows or has reason to know is used or intended to be used in violation of this chapter.
B. A person commits possession of a bingo gambling device if the person knowingly possesses any implement, machine, paraphernalia, equipment or other thing that the person knows or has reason to know is used or intended to be used in violation of this chapter.
C. Possession of a bingo gambling device shall not be the basis for a violation of section 13-3303, 13-3304 or 13-3307.
D. Possession of a bingo gambling device is a class 2 misdemeanor. Possession of any other gambling device is a class 1 misdemeanor.
E. Nothing in this section prohibits:
1. The use of gambling devices by nonprofit or charitable organizations pursuant to section 13-3302, subsection B.
2. Possession, distribution or transportation of gambling devices for purposes not prohibited by this chapter.
13-3307. Possession of gambling records; classification
A. A person commits possession of gambling records if he knowingly possesses any book, writing, paper, instrument, article, electronically-produced data, computer software and programs, discs, tapes or other tangible or intangible method of recording information knowing or having reason to know that it arises out of, or was made in connection with, gambling in violation of this chapter.
B. Possession of gambling records is a class 1 misdemeanor.
In a prosecution under this chapter in which it is necessary to prove the occurrence of any event that is the subject of gambling, a published report of its occurrence in a daily newspaper, a magazine or any other periodically printed publication of general circulation is admissible into evidence and, on admission, it is presumed that the event occurred. This presumption may be rebutted. Either party may use additional evidence to prove or disprove the occurrence of the event.
13-3309. Seizure; exception; definition
A. In addition to any other remedies provided by law, any monies used or intended to be used in violation of this chapter may be seized by any peace officer on probable cause that it is money used or intended to be used in violation of this chapter.
B. In addition to any other remedy provided by law, gambling records of gambling in violation of this chapter may be seized by any peace officer on probable cause that they are gambling records.
C. In addition to any other remedy provided by law, a gambling device may be seized by any peace officer on probable cause that it is a gambling device being used or intended to be used in violation of this title.
D. If a gambling device is an antique slot machine and is not used for gambling purposes or in violation of the laws of this state, possession of the antique slot machine is lawful and it shall not be confiscated or destroyed. If the gambling device is confiscated and the owner shows that the gambling device is an antique slot machine and it is not used for gambling purposes or in violation of the laws of this state, the court acquiring jurisdiction shall order the antique slot machine returned to the person from whom it was confiscated.
E. For purposes of this section, “antique slot machine” means a gambling device which is manufactured for use as a slot machine and is at least twenty-five years old.
A. In addition to any other remedies provided by law, the following property shall be forfeited pursuant to section 13-2314 or chapter 39 of this title:
1. All benefits derived from a violation of this chapter.
2. All unlawful gambling devices.
3. All things of value used or intended to be used to facilitate a violation of this chapter.
B. A person that obtains property through a violation of this chapter is an involuntary trustee. An involuntary trustee and any other person, except a bona fide purchaser for value without notice of the unlawful conduct and who has not knowingly taken part in an illegal transaction, holds the property, its proceeds and its fruits in constructive trust for the benefit of persons entitled to remedies pursuant to section 13-2314 or chapter 39 of this title.
13-3311. Amusement gambling intellectual contests or events; registration; filing of rules; sworn statement; exceptions
A. Before any person conducts an amusement gambling intellectual contest or event pursuant to section 13-3301, paragraph 1, subdivision (d), item (iii), such persons shall register with the attorney general’s office. The registration shall include:
1. The name and address of the person conducting the contest or event.
2. The minimum dollar amount of all prizes to be awarded.
3. The duration of the event.
4. The statutory agent or person authorized to accept service of process in Arizona for the person conducting the contest or event.
5. All rules governing the contest or event, including the rules applicable in case of a tie.
6. The name and description of the product and the established purchase price for the product.
B. Within ten days following the award of all prizes in connection with an amusement gambling intellectual contest or event, the person conducting the contest or event shall file with the attorney general’s office the names and addresses of all persons who have won prizes in connection with the contest or event.
C. For each amusement gambling intellectual contest or event held, the person conducting the event shall file with the attorney general’s office a sworn statement under oath that no increment has been added to the established purchase price for the product in connection with the gambling event.
D. This section does not apply to organizations that have qualified for an exemption from taxation of income under section 43-1201, paragraph 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10 or 11.
13-3312. Crane games; prohibited acts; classification
A. It is unlawful for a person to knowingly cause or commit the following actions:
1. Altering or maintaining a crane game so that the claw is physically unable to grasp exposed prizes.
2. Displaying prizes in a crane game in a manner so that the claw is physically incapable of grasping exposed prizes.
3. Misrepresenting the value of prizes in crane games.
4. Using cash or currency as prizes in crane games or awarding prizes in crane games which are redeemable for cash or currency.
B. A person who violates this section is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.