. Arizona Casino & Sports Betting News Archives - Play-in-AZ.com

Written By T.J. McBride on June 12, 2023
Arizona Lottery winner won $5M from a $50 scratch ticket.

One incredibly lucky Arizona Lottery player’s life just changed in an instant. The unidentified player recently bought a $50 scratch ticket and scratched their way to $5 million.

The scratcher game was aptly named “Set For Life.” Even more surprisingly, the player chose the long-term payout. They will receive $250,000 every year for the next 20 years.

They may not be set for life, but they are certainly set for the next 20 years.

Arizona Lottery will pay out full $5 million over 20 years

Unfortunately, Arizona Lottery tickets cannot be purchased online. Fortunately, there are more than 3,000 retailers statewide that sell tickets.

The $5 million winning scratch ticket was redeemed on May 30. The winner purchased the $50 Set for Life Scratchers ticket from Fry’s Food Store at N. Pinal Avenue and E. McCartney Road in Casa Grande. The city is between Phoenix and Tucson off Interstate 10.

Arizona Lottery Executive Director Alec Esteban Thomson told local news stations the Lottery was surprised the winner took the long-term payout. The vast majority of big winners take their winnings in a lump sum.

“Winning this $50 Scratchers game offers this player boundless opportunity, and really fires up our players’ imaginations regarding what a ‘Set For Life’ win would mean for them. I can’t wait to see what our next top prize winner chooses. … Seeing our first ‘Set For Life’ top prize winner choose to receive $250,000 every year for the next 20 years is exciting.”

Five top prize winners remain in the Set For Life Scratchers game

The Set for Life Scratchers game is a scratch ticket game where players simply match their numbers to any of the winning numbers. Players can win up to $5 million.

There are six top prizes available, so five remain. Additionally, there are still 332 of the 339 possible winners for the second biggest prize of $10,000.

Set for Life Scratcher game tickets and other game tickets are also eligible for the Arizona Lottery Players Club, which can give players another chance to win.

Photo by Shutterstock
T.J. McBride
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T.J. McBride

T.J. McBride is a writer and reporter based in Denver who covers the Denver Nuggets as a beat writer. He contributes regularly to PlayTexas on issues surrounding the illegal gaming market. His byline can be found across many websites such as ESPN, FiveThirtyEight, Bleacher Report and others.

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Written By Derek Helling on June 29, 2021Last Updated on January 30, 2023
Plans for a Gila River Chandler casino are in motion again as the tribal group as a result of a new gaming compact with Arizona.

After almost a decade and a half, a Gila River Chandler casino is back on the agenda. As a result of the new gaming compact between the Gila River Indian Community and the state of Arizona, a new AZ tribal casino is coming to Phoenix’s eastern suburbs.

The facility will boast everything the compacts afford the tribal community. Plans for the facility also signal the community’s intent to compete for an AZ sports betting license.

A Gila River Chandler casino is in the works

According to Alison Steinbach of the Arizona Republic, Gila Rivers Casinos will build the new casino on land it owns south of Chandler. The plot is adjacent to Gilbert Rd and Hunt Hwy.

When open, it will represent the fourth Gila River casino. It will also be the third near Chandler. The other two are the Lone Butte and Wild Horse Pass. The Vee Quiva Casino is near Laveen.

Community leaders approved the project on June 18. However, they actually are picking back up plans they decided to shelve in 2007. At that time, the community decided to build the Lone Butte property on its current location by the Loop 202 instead.

Right now, the plan is to complete construction within two years. Projections also call for the creation of 1,000 permanent jobs and peg the cost of the complex at over $100 million.

The property will offer patrons of the other three Gila River casinos much of what they are accustomed to, including a hotel. The new table games afforded tribal casino operators in AZ – baccarat, craps, and roulette among them – will also be available.

The plans also include another form of gambling that is new to AZ tribal casinos. However, the compact terms alone don’t decide whether the casino will offer it.

Gila River Casinos betting on a license

AZ tribal casinos – some of them, anyway – will be in on legal sports wagering. The thing is, while there are 24 tribal casino operators who have compacts with AZ, there are only 10 available licenses to spread between them.

Thus far, it’s not certain that 11 or more potential licensees will seek licensure. To date as well, the AZ Dept. of Gaming has not disclosed how it will determine which applicants are disappointed and which are satisfied in that scenario.

Plans for this new casino do include a sportsbook. Obviously, that suggests Gila River Casinos will throw their hat in the ring. Unlike whether to build the casino on their sovereign land, the state will have some say in this.

Over 30 people who reside near the new casino location have expressed concerns to Chandler leadership about traffic congestion and noise pollution. However, even if the city was staunchly opposed to the project, there would be nothing it could do.

The Gila River Community owns the land and the compact terms give them leeway to run a fourth casino. That same compact gives them the room to operate a sportsbook there as well if they can secure a license.

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Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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Written By Matthew Kredell on June 23, 2021Last Updated on January 30, 2023

Recent meetings for public comment on sports betting draft rules illustrated how the Arizona Department of Gaming faces a task different from regulators in any other state to legalize sports wagering.

Perhaps because legislation started as a compact agreement, major policy points usually determined by lawmakers were left to regulators. These include number of online betting skins or brands will be allowed, license fees, tax rate and license allocation.

Given the unusual nature of these demands on a regulator, it’s no surprise the Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) left these policy issues out of its initial set of draft rules.

Over two virtual meetings concluding Monday, ADG director Ted Vogt pleaded for stakeholder feedback on these policy issues. He got little help.

Stakeholders want one online sports betting skin

Skins turned out to be the only one of the four major policy issues that stakeholders wanted to address publicly.

David Miller of the PGA Tour/TPC Scottsdale, Joe Solosky of NASCAR, Amilyn Pierce of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Andrew Diss of the Arizona Coyotes and Andrew Winchell of FanDuel all supported one skin.

“As somebody who was involved in the conversations about the legislation, I can say with 100% certainty that it was always our belief that it would only be one skin,” Pierce said.

Matt Olin, CEO of Apache Gaming Enterprise, disagreed. He argued that the first draft of legislation brought to the House did not contemplate multiple skins. But this was edited and changed by the final version.

The law does indicate that an event wagering operator “may use more than one event wagering platform.” However, Pierce contended this language meant a licensee could use different platforms for mobile and retail.

Olin was the only speaker in favor of multiple skins. With a single skin, Arizona could have up to 20 mobile sports betting apps.

How will the Department decide tribal licenses?

A curious part of the Arizona law all along was how it allows ten licenses to professional sports entities. There aren’t that many sports teams in the state. And then it limits tribal licenses to 10 when there are 22 gaming tribes in the state. Sixteen of them operate casinos.

Perhaps the tribes reach an agreement amongst themselves to share revenue with only 10 applying for mobile sports betting licenses. But if more apply than there are licenses, the ADG will be left with the difficult task of determining which tribes are more deserving.

“There are 22 tribes in the state of Arizona,” Vogt said. “If all of them wanted to get a license, there would only be 10 available. … What sort of process would you recommend the state engage in in allocating those licenses provided there were more qualified applicants than available licenses?”

Under compact agreements, all tribes in the state can have retail sports betting at their casinos.

Racetracks must partner with sports team or tribe

Racetracks seemed surprised that they must partner with a licensed event wagering operator to offer retail sports betting at their facilities.

Dave Auther, co-owner of Arizona Downs, couldn’t believe this development.

“The deal that we would make with a sports club in order to qualify as a limited event wagering operator, does that mean a certain percentage of our income has to go to some club that already has a license? In order for us to get in the game, we have to play a club some more money?”

Vogt said it would take a contract between a limited wagering operator and one of the master licenses (sports entity or tribe).

“What would motivate a master licensee to contract with us?” Auther responded. “Is it money or goodwill or friendship?”

Auther also didn’t understand the method for limited event wagering licensing. He explained that there are three racetracks in the state, with about 40 off-track betting locations that are satellites of these tracks.

He figured a limited event wagering license would get sports betting for each track and all its OTBs. But Vogt explained that a total of 10 racetracks and OTBs would get sports betting.

“We think that’s substantially limiting our access to sportsbooks and would object to that,” Auther said.

What’s next for Arizona sports betting

The ADG is working fast to try to get sports betting up and running by the beginning of the NFL season.

Vogt said he hoped to get an updated draft of sports betting regulations out by the end of the week. That will include an updated time frame for voting on the final rules and beginning licensing.

Perhaps stakeholders provided more input on tax rate, license fees and license allocation through written comment.

“We certainly understand that Arizonans are excited at the advent of event wagering and fantasy sports,” Vogt said. “They’ve waited a long time. And so the Department in turn has set an aggressive timetable to go live. Right now our target is still Sept. 9, which coincides with the NFL season opener.”

Photo by Andreadonetti | Dreamstime.com
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Matthew has covered efforts to legalize and regulate online gambling since 2007. His reporting on the legalization of sports betting began in 2010 with an article for Playboy Magazine on how the NFL was pushing US money overseas by fighting the expansion of regulated sports betting. A USC journalism alum, Matt began as a sports writer at the Los Angeles Daily News and has written on a variety of topics for Playboy, Men’s Journal, Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and ESPN.com.

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Written By C.J. Pierre on September 30, 2021Last Updated on January 30, 2023
Cardinals Week 3 Betting Preview Rams

The Arizona Cardinals face their biggest test in this young NFL season.

In Week 4, the high-flying Cards head to the City of Angels to take on the Los Angeles Rams. Both teams are off to a 3-0 start and are riding high into this battle of unbeatens.

The list of similarities between the two opponents is a long one. Both teams are trying to rebound from disappointing 2020 campaigns. Both head coaches came into the 2021 season under a lot of pressure to win. And both teams are led by quarterbacks near the top of the MVP conversation.

So far, so good for these teams as they now head into a massive NFC West showdown. While many experts pegged the Rams as Super Bowl contenders, most picked the Cardinals to finish last in the division. After an upset win over Tennessee, surviving against Minnesota and underperforming in a win against Jacksonville, Arizona could use Week 4 as a “measuring-stick game” of sorts.

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Arizona Cardinals Fly Into LA As Road Dogs

As expected, Arizona sports betting oddsmakers are projecting that the home team will walk away with the victory on Sunday. Across the sportsbook landscape, you can find the Cardinals at anywhere from 4-point to 5-point underdogs.

Both teams are 2-1 against the spread so far this year. The over/under for the game is at  total points.

Arizona Cardinals (3-0) at Los Angeles Rams (3-0)
Date: Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021
Time: 1:05 p.m. MST
Location: SoFi Stadium —  Inglewood, CA
TV Coverage: FOX

NFL MVP Front-Runners Go Head-to-Head

Three weeks into the NFL season, no MVP discussion can be had without mentioning the two quarterbacks in this game: Kyler Murray for the Cardinals and Matthew Stafford for the Rams. Most sportsbooks have both QBs in the top 5 in their MVP odds. In fact, BetMGM Arizona, DraftKings AZ and the Caesars Arizona sportsbook have Murray at number one. Meanwhile, WynnBet Arizona has Stafford as the favorite to win the award.

Although both average over 300 passing yards per game, oddsmakers expect the Rams to slow down Murray a bit in this game. According to FanDuel AZ, the over/under for Kyler Murray passing yards is at 275. His over/under for rushing yards is at 35. While much attention gets paid to Murray’s legs, he has done most of his damage with his arm so far this season. Right now, he is only averaging 23.3 rushing yards per game through three weeks.

Meanwhile, Stafford’s over/under for passing yards for the game is at 292, and his over/under for touchdown passes sits at two.

Can Cards High-Flying Offense Get Past the Rams’ Star-Studded Defense?

For the Cardinals to pull off a win, they will likely need to match the Rams score-for-score. Through the first three weeks of the season, Arizona is tied for first in points per game (34.3) and ranks second in yards per game (432.3.) However, it will be a tough matchup against a Rams defense that ranks in the top 10 in points allowed per game. (20.7)

Los Angeles’ defense features two players in the top 15 on the NFL’s Top 100 list. That includes cornerback Jalen Ramsay, who will see a lot of Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, and three-time defensive player of the year Aaron Donald. Finding a way to limit their impact on the game is expected to be the number goal for Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

As it stands, according to DraftKings, Arizona’s over/under totals for points and touchdowns sit at 24.5 and 2.5, respectively.

Photo by AP / Stephen B. Morton
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CJ Pierre is a multimedia journalist currently residing in the Phoenix-Metro Area in Arizona. He has been covering news and sports for over a decade for both online and TV broadcasts. He was born and raised in Minneapolis and an alum of Minnesota State University: Moorhead. CJ has experience as a reporter and videographer and has covered high school, college and professional sports throughout his career. Most notably following Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Vikings and North Dakota State University football.

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Written By Jarrett Huff on February 10, 2023
Arizona through the years in the Super Bowl

State Farm Stadium is no stranger to the Super Bowl, as Sunday will be the third time it hosted the big game since it opened back in 2006. Arizona’s warmer climate, in the typically-cold month of February for most of the U.S., makes it an ideal venue for the most-watched annual event in sports.

Before the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles take to the turf for Super Bowl LVII, here’s a look back at Arizona’s history with the Super Bowl.

Jan. 28, 1996: Super Bowl XXX

In a time before State Farm Stadium, Tempe’s Sun Devil Stadium hosted Super Bowl XXX on Jan. 28, 1996, a game that featured the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers.

For the Cowboys, it was the team’s third Super Bowl in four seasons; the franchise’s fifth overall. For the Steelers, it was their first Super Bowl appearance since 1980’s Super Bowl XIV, when the franchise won its fourth.

In the first quarter, Cowboys cornerback Deion Sanders made Super Bowl history by becoming the first and only player in Super Bowl history to record an interception on defense and a reception on offense. Sanders’ interception came a year earlier as a member of the 49ers in Super Bowl XXIX.

In the fourth quarter the Steelers successfully recovered the football due to a surprise onside kick at their own 47-yard line. Steelers quarterback Neil O’Donnell would march Pittsburgh down the field and set up an 1-yard touchdown run for running back Bam Morris, making it a 20-17 game.

Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith’s touchdown would give Dallas a 27-17 victory. Cornerback Larry Brown would win the game’s MVP after recording two interceptions and quarterback Troy Aikman would become the third quarterback to win three Super Bowls.

For the first time ever, the Vince Lombardi Trophy was presented to the team on field. This is the last Super Bowl the Cowboys played in as of 2023.

Feb. 3, 2008: Super Bowl XLII

State Farm Stadium held the Super Bowl for the first time, then-named University of Phoenix Stadium, on Feb. 3, 2008, hosting the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. Up until the Super Bowl, the Patriots hadn’t lost a game all season, and were 12-point favorites. At 10-6, the Giants were looking to become the first NFC wild card team to win a Super Bowl.

This game went on to become one of the largest upsets in professional sports, and an instant Super Bowl classic. The game is best remembered for the fourth quarter, as the Giants attempted a comeback down 14-10 with 2:39 left in the game. Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss had just caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Brady, giving the Patriots the lead.

On third down, the Giants gave the NFL one of its most-iconic moments with the “Helmet Catch.” Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw a pass after escaping pressure to wide receiver David Tyree, who managed to secure the ball off a one-handed catch using the top of his helmet to give New York a 32-yard first down.

Manning would find wide receiver Plaxico Burress for a 13-yard touchdown with 35 seconds remaining, leading to a 17-14 Giants lead. The Giants didn’t allow the Patriots to advance the ball in the time remaining, sealing the Giants’ third Super Bowl victory. Manning would go on to be named the game’s MVP.

Feb. 1, 2009: Super Bowl XLIII

While not taking place in Arizona, the Arizona Cardinals played in Super Bowl XLIII on Feb. 1, 2009 against the Steelers.

The Cardinals advanced to the Super Bowl after winning the franchise’s first NFC Championship. They were looking to end the league’s longest championship drought, which extended back to 1947. For the Steelers, it was their first Super Bowl since their win in 2006’s Super Bowl XL.

The game featured Steelers linebacker James Harrison’s Super Bowl-record-100-yard interception return for a touchdown. The touchdown gave Pittsburgh a 17-7 halftime lead.

At the start of the fourth quarter, Arizona trailed 20-7 before going on an unanswered 16-point run. Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner led Arizona on an 87-yard drive, culminating in a touchdown from wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

Later on, Cardinals punter Ben Graham’s 34-yard boot would pin Pittsburgh at the 1-yard line. Steelers center Justin Hartwig committed a costly holding penalty that nullified a 20-yard completion from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and granted the Cardinals a safety. Warner would find Fitzgerald for a 64-yard touchdown three plays later , giving Arizona its first lead of the game, 23-20, with under three minutes to go.

Roethlisberger took the Steelers downfield in the final minutes, with wide receiver Santonio Holmes recording a 40-yard pass at Arizona’s 6-yard line. Roethlisberger found Holmes again in the back corner of the endzone for a two-toes-down touchdown. An extra-point conversion gave the Steelers a 27-23 lead with 35 seconds remaining.

Warner managed to get the Cardinals to the Steelers’ 44-yard line, setting up a Hail Mary pass attempt. Warner was sacked during the play by Steeler linebacker LaMarr Woodley, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Pittsburgh with five seconds remaining.

One kneel down gave Pittsburgh its sixth Super Bowl victory, making it the first NFL franchise to do so. Holmes was named the game’s MVP, with nine receptions for 131 yards and a touchdown. Four of those receptions for 73 yards came during the game-winning drive.

Feb. 1, 2015: Super Bowl XLIX

Super Bowl XLIX brought the big game back to State Farm Stadium on Feb. 1, 2015, with the Patriots facing the Seattle Seahawks.

Brady and the Patriots were attempting to end a 10-year title drought extending back to 2005’s Super Bowl XXXIX. The Seahawks were looking to win their second consecutive Super Bowl after their victory in Super Bowl XLVIII. Had they won, Seattle would’ve become the first team to repeat since the 2004 Patriots.

The game was a one-possession contest until Seattle took a 10-point lead in the third quarter. Brady would lead the Patriots to 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. He threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Danny Amendola. The drive was notable for patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman sustaining a concussion and remaining in the game despite displaying visible symptoms of a head injury. The next Patriots drive culminated in Brady finding Edelman for a 3-yard touchdown pass, giving New England a 28-24 lead with 2:02 remaining.

Seattle’s next drive began with a 31-yard pass from quarterback Russell Wilson to running back Marshawn Lynch. Wilson would later find wide receiver Jermaine Kearse for a 33-yard reception, who was covered by Patriots rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler. Butler deflected the pass, which then Kearse tipped to himself and caught with his back on the ground. Butler recovered to push Kearse out of bounds.

Seattle, now on New England’s 5-yard line with 1:05 to go, gave the ball to Lynch for a 4-yard gain. Seattle attempted a pass play at the 1-yard line, as Wilson attempted a pass to wide receiver Tyler Lockett. Butler read the play and intercepted the ball at the goal line, giving New England the ball back with 20 seconds remaining.

A few kneel downs, a safety and a couple Seattle penalties gave the Patriots the 28-26 win. Brady became the third quarterback in NFL history with four Super Bowls and tied Joe Montana with his third Super Bowl MVP. Seattle’s final play has been heavily criticized by media, fans and players alike ever since.

What can we expect this year?

Super Bowl LVII between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles kicks off at 4:30 p.m. MST. It’s the first Super Bowl since the legalization of Arizona sports betting, which provides another way for fans to get involved in the festivities.

Fans looking to open up sports betting accounts have plenty of incentives to do so. Arizona sportsbooks are offering more than $7,200 in Super Bowl betting bonuses and promotions.

Photo by AP Photo / Michael S. Green
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Jarrett Huff is a former sports editor at Northern Star Media from Wonder Lake, Illinois. Friends and family will tell you he’s an NBA history nerd with a diehard passion for the Chicago Bulls, Bears and Cubs.

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Written By Martin Harris on June 3, 2021Last Updated on January 30, 2023
Thanks to Arizona's recent gambling expansion, the state's game selection will soon reach Grand Canyon-like proportions.

Gambling expansion has come to Arizona. Thanks to the passage of legislation and approval of new tribal-state compacts this spring, the gambling landscape in the state sits ready to widen to Grand Canyon-like proportions.

In April, following years of negotiations involving Arizona lawmakers and tribal leaders, Gov. Doug Ducey signed both gambling legislation and new tribal-state compacts. In May, those compacts received federal approval from the U.S. Department of the Interior‘s Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Now it’s June, and the Arizona Department of Gaming has begun work drafting regulations for sports betting and daily fantasy sports with eye toward launching the first retail and mobile sportsbooks in time for the 2021 NFL season.

While many of the state’s tribes are eager to begin accepting their first sports bets, there is equal excitement among many regarding the addition of new casinos — and new casino games — also authorized by the new compacts.

More casinos, more slots, and more table games coming to AZ

Arizona has 22 federally recognized tribes. Sixteen of them operate at least one of the 25 tribal casinos located throughout the state.

The new compacts authorize up to 10 licenses for tribes to offer retail and mobile sports betting. Up to 10 more licenses are available as well to the state’s professional sports franchises and facilities, with the state’s horse racing tracks also eligible to apply for retail sports betting licenses.

The compacts additionally pave the way for more Arizona tribal casinos. The old compacts allowed up to 44 casinos, while the new ones push that total up to 55 properties. That said, expectations are only four more casinos will be added, two near Phoenix, one near Tucson, and the other possibly near Flagstaff.

The number of slot machines the tribes can collectively offer has increased as well. Before the tribes were allowed up to 20,500 slots, and had about 13,500 in operation. The new compacts increase the overall total by nearly 6,300 slots while also allowing 550 more to be added every two years.

The same goes for table games. Before the change, the tribes could operate a maximum of approximately 3,600 table games between them, although in truth right now there are only around 430 in use.

The amended compacts permit every tribal casino to have up to 100 table games, with casinos located nearer to larger cities allowed up to 150. Those are both increases, and the overall number of table games allowed has thus increased as well.

As it happens, the casinos may well want to be able to offer more table games. That’s because the kinds of games they can offer has also expanded. That in turn should increase the likelihood that extra tables will be put to use.

New table games include craps, roulette, baccarat, Sic Bo & Pai Gow

As far as table games go, previously the tribes were limited to blackjack and poker. (Tribes could also offer keno and bingo.) Therefore all 430 or so of the table games currently offered in Arizona casinos spread one of those two games.

The new compacts allow the casinos to add the following games to their offerings:

  • craps (at least eight tables per facility)
  • roulette (at least eight tables per facility)
  • baccarat (at least eight tables per facility)
  • Sic Bo (at least four games per facility)
  • Pai Gow (at least four games per facility)


Craps is the popular dice game that allows players to wager against the house on a single roll or a series of rolls. Players take turns being the “shooter” and rolling the dice as everyone places pass line and don’t pass wagers, come and don’t come bets, odds bets and more.


Roulette is the classic casino game that involves the spin of a wheel. Again, multiple players can participate at once. Players can wager on single numbers, red or black, odd or even, or other possible outcomes.


Baccarat is a card game especially popular in Europe and Asia, and a favorite of high rollers worldwide. James Bond plays baccarat in the original Casino Royale novel and film. It might resemble blackjack at first glance with players gathered around a dealer at a semi-circular table. However, the rules for baccarat are very different.

Sic Bo

Sic Bo is another game that is very popular in Asia, especially in Macau. Like craps it is a dice game, although unlike craps which can involve some strategy, Sic Bo is strictly a chance-based game like roulette.

Pai Gow

Pai Gow has Asian origins as well, although the card game is popular in the United States, too. Players know it as a fun, poker-based game in which players try to beat a dealer by making better hands (as in blackjack).

Arizona gamblers will likely be familiar with some of these games, or perhaps all of them. That said, none will have ever played any of them in an Arizona tribal casino before.

In other words, not only will there be more Arizona casinos going forward, but the casinos will become more Vegas-like, too, with the addition of these new games along with sports betting. It will be interesting to see which new table games emerge as favorites among Arizonans once they appear.

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Written By Matt Boecker on April 27, 2022Last Updated on January 30, 2023

Sports betting is a booming industry, but it came from humble beginnings. Despite the legalization of sports betting in many states, offshore sportsbooks still exist. Here’s how to tell if you’re using an illegal, offshore sportsbook.

The “offshore” name derives from the country the site operates in — as in not the United States. Books that operate outside the states do not reside under the US umbrella. The Caribbean and Central America are home to many offshore sites.

Licensed US sportsbooks put safety first

No regulations surround offshore betting sites. This concept sounds fun until you consider you’re putting your money at risk. At legal sportsbooks in Arizona, the state requires that the sites follow the rules and regulations that protect you, the sports betting customer.

Because of this, money deposited into a licensed sportsbook is under protection, but the same can’t be said for offshore sites. There have been instances where users of offshore sites had their balance wiped out without any resolution from a customer support team.

With a licensed sportsbook, the regulating bodies in a particular state are formed to police the sportsbooks and prevent dishonesty or bad business.

The site you bet with is equally as crucial as the teams you bet on, and going through a licensed sportsbook is the safest option. 

Also, licensed sportsbooks are constantly competing with each other for users. So they’ll always offer deposit bonuses, referral bonuses, odds boosters, promotions, etc., to gain your loyalty as a customer.  

Separate legal sportsbooks from illegal ones

There are many distinguishing characteristics of licensed sportsbooksFanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM — from offshore sportsbooks — Bovada, MyBookie and BetDSI. It’s important to know what you’re looking for to make the proper identification, because if you look at a sportsbooks dashboard, it can be difficult to tell.

Warning sign No. 1: Funky URL

Licensed sportsbooks all have URLs ending with .com. Offshore sites will have URLs ending in .ag, .lv, or .eu, amongst others. 

Each of these signifies the country from which the website operates. If you can remember to check the URL before even looking at the website’s homepage, it can help make the distinction immediately.

Warning sign No. 2: Cryptocurrency

Many offshore sportsbooks will allow users to deposit cryptocurrency as playable funds. No licensed sportsbook in the US will allow this illegal US currency. So, if you see Bitcoin mentioned anywhere, you’re likely on an offshore sportsbook.

Offshore operators sometimes allow bettors to transfer their funds into a friend’s account and bet with that money.  

Warning sign No. 3: Lack of regulation seal

On licensed sportsbooks, you can scroll to the bottom of any page or bottom of an app and find an emblem from the state’s gaming regulation board. In Arizona, the regulatory body is the Arizona Department of Gaming. You’ll be hard-pressed to find this marking on an offshore site.

Photo by PlayInAZ
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Matt Boecker is a 2020 graduate of Northern Illinois University hailing from Chicago. Boecker specializes in coverage of sports betting and legalization. Former teammates and coworkers describe him as a nice guy who tries hard and loves the game.

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Written By C.J. Pierre on September 10, 2021Last Updated on January 30, 2023
Cardinals Week 1 Betting Preview

The Arizona Cardinals kick off a high-pressure season with a tough test on the road. The Cards head to Nashville to take on the Tennesse Titans in Week 1 of the 2021 NFL regular season.

These are two teams with high aspirations this year. After back-to-back playoff appearances, the Titans have their eyes on a Super Bowl title. Coming back from last season’s disappointing exit in the AFC Wild Card round, the team made major additions on both sides of the ball, headlined by the acquisition of All-Pro wideout Julio Jones.

On the other side, not many have pegged the Cardinals as a Super Bowl pick. However, the team still has pressure to succeed in what could be a make-or-break year for the head coach and starting quarterback. Arizona has not made the playoffs since the 2015 season. And the first step to changing that won’t be an easy one.

On the other hand, the game presents a ton of intriguing Arizona Cardinals betting options for eager sports bettors looking to cash in on the first weekend of legalized wagering in the Grand Canyon State.

AZ sports betting oddsmakers: Cardinals fall to Titans in shootout

As noted earlier, both the Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans made major acquisitions in the offseason. Both teams have questions on defense which could make this game a treat for daily fantasy players.

After all, offensively, Arizona wants to spread it out and play an up-tempo style. Meanwhile, Tennessee wants to run downhill and control the ball with their workhorse running back Derrick Henry.

According to DraftKings Arizona, Tennessee is favored on the moneyline (to win straight-up) at . On the flip side, Arizona goes into opening week as a underdog.

So, bet $160 to win $100 on a Titans victory and $100 to rake in $140 on a Cardinals win.

Throughout the state, Arizona mobile betting apps agree that the Cards will need to pull of an upset to start the season victorious.

High-scoring, sure, but close nonetheless

Titans are favorites against the spread at +100. So if the Titans win by more than three points, a $100 bet would bring in another $100. Conversely, the Cardinals against the spread sit at . So if they win the game or lose by no more than three points, a $120 ATS bet on Arizona would win $100.

These odds show that the oddsmakers are expecting a close game.

The sportsbooks also expect both teams to light up the scoreboard. The over/under for the game is set at 52.5 points. That means betters are looking forward to touchdowns galore from these two high-powered offenses.

Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans: What to watch for

Date: Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021
Time: 10:00 a.m. MST
Location: Nissan Stadium — Nashville, TN
TV Coverage: CBS

The Cardinals sports a stacked receiving core, headlined by DeAndre Hopkins alongside Christian Kirk and veteran newcomer AJ Green. That means plenty of places for quarterback Kyler Murray to throw the ball and open things up for the former Heisman Trophy winner to use his legs.

On defense, Arizona’s bread and butter is getting to the quarterback. The team brought in longtime Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt to take some attention away from pro bowl pass rusher Chandler Jones. But it may be up to rookie linebacker Zaven Collins to help shore up a run defense that struggled last season. The Cards gave up over 125 yards per game on the ground. That ranked 22nd in the league.

Meanwhile, with Henry leading the charge, Tennessee had the second-ranked rushing offense in the NFL last year at over 168 yards per game. And adding a star wideout like Jones could make things easier for fellow receiver AJ Brown and quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

If the Cardinals hope to leave Nashville with a win, they may need to match the Titans score for score. Arizona ranked 10th in the NFL in red-zone offense last season, scoring at a 65.5% clip. They will go up against the 30th-ranked red-zone defense from a year ago, with Tennessee letting up red-zone scores 69.2% of the time.

Photo by AP / Ross D. Franklin
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C.J. Pierre

CJ Pierre is a multimedia journalist currently residing in the Phoenix-Metro Area in Arizona. He has been covering news and sports for over a decade for both online and TV broadcasts. He was born and raised in Minneapolis and an alum of Minnesota State University: Moorhead. CJ has experience as a reporter and videographer and has covered high school, college and professional sports throughout his career. Most notably following Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Vikings and North Dakota State University football.

View all posts by C.J. Pierre

Written By C.J. Pierre on March 11, 2022Last Updated on January 30, 2023

The rubber will be all over the road in Arizona this weekend as NASCAR returns to Phoenix Raceway for the Ruoff Mortgage 500. It will be the fourth race in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series.

Race fans should be excited. It is early in the season, and all of their favorite drivers are still in the hunt to take home the season championship.

With sports betting in Arizona being so popular, there is some additional excitement for race fans in the state. With that comes curiosity about what else is to come from the partnership between Phoenix Raceway and Barstool. We’ve already seen the Barstool Sportsbook app launch in the state. However, will we also see a retail sportsbook at the racetrack? And if so, when?

Latest on Barstool retail sportsbook at Phoenix Raceway

Several of Arizona’s top sporting venues have or are planning on opening up retail sportsbooks. The FanDuel Sportsbook at the Footprint Center is gradually becoming a Phoenix hot spot.

Also, temporary betting windows outside of Chase Field have fans excited for the official Caesars Sportsbook. Plans are still in place for that retail sportsbook to open at the ballpark later this Spring.

With DraftKings and BetMGM set to open retail spots in the near future, many have wondered if the Barstool Arizona Sportsbook would follow suit. As of right now, it is unclear when a retail sportsbook will make its way to Phoenix Raceway.

Matt Humphrey, NASCAR’s Communications Manager for Phoenix Raceway, told PlayInAZ that no official plans for a retail sportsbook at Phoenix Raceway have been made.

He added that plans are still evolving and that we could see in-person betting at the racetrack in the future. However, as of now, fans headed to the track for this weekend festivities should only plan on making bets from their phones.

Barstool and Penn National Gaming race into Top 5 for AZ sportsbooks

It was back in July 2021 when NASCAR announced that Barstool would become the exclusive sportsbook of Phoenix Raceway. Penn National Gaming wasted little time getting into the sports betting game. AZ bettors were given a mobile app shortly after the state’s official launch of legal sports wagering.

In terms of popularity among Arizonans, the Barstool Sportsbook app just sneaks into the Top 5. According to the Arizona Department of Gaming’s December revenue report, Barstool ranks fifth among active online AZ Sportsbooks with over $20 million in wagers.

Ruoff Mortgage 500 could set the pace for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series

It is still early in the NASCAR 2022 race season. However, the Ruoff Mortgage 500 could show us which drivers will make a push for the championship.

The last three winners of the annual race at Phoenix Raceway have all finished in the Top 3 of the NASCAR Playoffs that season.

Martin Truex Jr. won this race in 2021. He would go on to finish second in the championship, only five points behind 2020 Cups Series champion Kyle Larson.

In 2020, Joey Logano took the checkered flag in Phoenix before finishing third in the championship.

However, it was none other than Kyle Busch that was able to take the Phoenix Raceway magic and ride it all the way to a title. In 2019, Busch won the Ruoff Mortgage 500. He went on to be the points leader at the end of the regular season and win the 2019 Cups Series championship.

Fast forward to 2022, and we are expecting a ton of drivers to push for a win in the desert. Most sports betting sites in Arizona have Kyle Larson as the favorite to take the checkered flag on Sunday. The 2021 champ is picking up right where he left off. He won the Auto Club 400 two weeks ago and finished 2nd at the Pennzoil 400 last weekend.

Driver Odds to Win DraftKings AZ FanDuel AZ BetMGM Arizona Caesars Sportsbook AZ
Kyle Larson +400 +400 +400 +450
Martin Truex Jr. +750 +750 +700 +600
Kyle Busch +750 +750 +700 +750
Denny Hamlin +800 +900 +800 +650
Chase Elliott +800 +850 +800 +700

There are sure to be tons of Arizonans betting on NASCAR this weekend. So be sure to shop around other AZ sportsbooks to find the best odds for your favorite drivers.

Photo by AP / Ralph Freso
C.J. Pierre Avatar
Written by
C.J. Pierre

CJ Pierre is a multimedia journalist currently residing in the Phoenix-Metro Area in Arizona. He has been covering news and sports for over a decade for both online and TV broadcasts. He was born and raised in Minneapolis and an alum of Minnesota State University: Moorhead. CJ has experience as a reporter and videographer and has covered high school, college and professional sports throughout his career. Most notably following Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Vikings and North Dakota State University football.

View all posts by C.J. Pierre

Written By Matthew Kredell on February 15, 2022Last Updated on January 30, 2023
az capitol building

One Arizona lawmaker wants changes to the inequitable treatment of Native American tribes under the Arizona sports betting law.

Since before that bill’s passage, Sen. Sally Ann Gonzales spoke out against the deal as bad for Indian tribes in Arizona.

With Senate Bill 1674, she asks for two key changes:

  • Increase mobile sports betting licenses available to tribes from 10 to 22. This would allow every tribe in Arizona the opportunity to participate.
  • Allow tribes to place retail sportsbooks within a five-block radius of a sports facility or complex.

Gonzales explained her frustrations to PlayInAZ.com:

“It’s a matter of fairness. Twenty-two tribes around the state had to compete for 10 Indian licenses. And the non-Indians didn’t have to compete. They just applied and each got one. And they even have one or two to spare, for who I don’t know.”

Tribes agreed to separate but unequal treatment

During last year’s legislative debate, Gonzales offered an amendment to increase mobile sports betting licenses available to tribes from 10 to 22.

Her amendment was quickly dismissed because 21 of 22 tribes in the state agreed to the terms in compact negotiations with the governor. This includes her own tribe, the Pascua Yaqui.

Gov. Doug Ducey wanted both tribes and sports teams to have access to the same 10 mobile sports betting licenses.

“This is government action and the government is treating licensees substantially different,” said Tolanya Adams, an analyst for Sen. Gonzales. “One group happens to be comprised of Native Americans, and the other group happens to be comprised of all Caucasian males. What is the basis? What is the rationale?”

In return for agreeing to this limitation, tribes did get other benefits. These include expansion of gaming to offer baccarat, craps, roulette and pai gow, an increased number of slot machines and the right to build 10 additional casinos.

But the biggest benefit was the compact extension itself.

“In essence, what he did is tell every tribe if you want a new compact signed with me for 20 years, you had better agree to the legislation,” Gonzales said. “He twisted their arms behind their back with the leverage of signing compacts for another 20 years. Because that’s what every tribe needed to go to financiers to lower interest rates for loans they had taken out to build facilities.”

Arizona took $500,000 from Indian tribes for nothing

Arizona’s sports betting law required a $100,000 non-refundable application fee for a mobile event wagering license. For successful applications, that money went toward paying the $750,000 for a five-year license.

Given that there were only eight applicants for 10 licenses, sports teams put in their application fee, knowing it would go toward their license.

“Their $100,000 is not at risk and not going to be denied,” Adams said. “And Indian applicants have a flip-of-a-coin chance to get a license.”

With 10 tribes awarded licenses, five paid a $100,000 application fee to the state and got nothing in return.

Gonzales’ tribe is one of the five out the $100,000.

The Pascua Yaqui has the third most tribal members in the state. However, its reservation is a small piece of land in a rural area nearest to Tucson.

Tribes and sports entities pay same for different rights

The 10 tribes and eight sports entities granted event wagering licenses each paid $750,000. But they don’t get equal opportunities for that money.

Each can partner with one mobile sports betting operator. But sports teams can place a retail sportsbook within five blocks of their stadium or arena.

Tribes also can have retail sportsbooks at their casinos, but that is not part of the commercial license. That is granted through their compacts under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

It might not make sense to let tribes place sportsbooks outside stadiums and arenas. But, in entering a commercial agreement, it would give them what they paid for.

Adams explained:

“They created a brand new gambling industry in its infancy and said there’s two categories of licensees that can play in this arena – Indians and non-Indians. For the non-Indians category, they get land-based rights within five blocks of a sports arena and mobile rights. For the Indians category paying the same $750,000, they only get mobile rights. This bill addresses asks for native tribes granted licensee by a government agency to be treated fairly in this commercial gaming enterprise and have the full rights and benefits of every other licensee for which they are paying an equal cost.”

Bill starts conversation but has little hope of passing

Gonzales doesn’t have widespread tribal support for the bill. She says she’s still trying to gauge where other tribes stand on the issue.

“Of course, tribes who got the licenses may or may not support this effort because they got the license,” Gonzales said. “They’re going to benefit. But they’re not going to benefit to the extent that non-Indian people are going to benefit from their license that costs the same amount of money.”

She wants to get media attention for the inequity in the commercial sports betting license and licensing process for Indian tribes.

However, she knows it’s unrealistic to hope the bill passes this year. It’s unlikely to get a hearing prior to Friday’s deadline to hear bills in the Arizona Senate committee.

The bill was assigned to the Senate Commerce Committee. Gonzales is a Democrat in a chamber and legislature controlled by Republicans.

Lawmakers also know if they passed the bill, it would almost certainly get vetoed by Ducey. The governor isn’t going to sign off on changes to the agreement tribes made with him just last year.

“It’s certainly an uphill battle,” Gonzales admitted. “But I want people to know the situation firsthand from a tribal member.”

She added that she might attempt to attach language to other legislation refunding the $100,000 license fee put up by tribes not awarded a license. That could be her best hope of making an impact for tribes this session.

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Matthew Kredell

Matthew has covered efforts to legalize and regulate online gambling since 2007. His reporting on the legalization of sports betting began in 2010 with an article for Playboy Magazine on how the NFL was pushing US money overseas by fighting the expansion of regulated sports betting. A USC journalism alum, Matt began as a sports writer at the Los Angeles Daily News and has written on a variety of topics for Playboy, Men’s Journal, Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and ESPN.com.

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