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Arizona and Hawaii Join the Movement to Legalize Online Betting


Arizona and Hawaii have become the latest US jurisdictions to introduce sports betting legislation. Lawmakers in both states filed preliminary plans on January 23, 2019 to set the stage for legislative debate. It is expected that the measures will be considered in upcoming sessions. 

Both states have adopted different approaches. In Arizona lawmakers hope to tie sports betting to existing tribal casinos that are located in the state. The proposed measure would allow sports betting at tribal casinos, and it would also provide for betting kiosks to be located off the tribal properties. This could then open the door for online sports betting platforms that are operated by the tribal gaming companies. 

Hawaii is seeking to create the Hawaii Sports Wagering Corporation. This entity would function in a manner similar to that of state lottery commissions. It would oversee all the gambling operations in the state, and the corporation would also oversee online casinos if and when they are introduced. 

The move by Hawaii is significant. Hawaii is one of only two states in the US that have never permitted gambling. The other is Utah, a state largely populated by members of the Mormon religious faith. Neither state has been willing to consider gambling in the past, but the success of online gaming ventures is changing attitudes around the country. Lawmakers have been forced to concede that the revenues from online and offline gaming can provide valuable resources to the state. 

There are now 15 US states which are poised to consider gambling legislation in 2019. Some of these states are conservative strongholds where gambling has traditionally been frowned upon by residents. Others have state budget crises that lawmakers hope online gambling can help resolve. 

The journey toward legalized online casinos and sports betting operations has been a long one for the US. The next few years look promising for those who enjoying playing casino games online for real money.

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