You may not think Arizona is a good place to gamble, but Arizona is a gambling-friendly state. The gambling laws are among the most liberal in the US, thanks to the Native American casinos and the popularity of lottery games in the state. The state has the most popular lottery games in the United States and with nine poker rooms, you can tell the citizens enjoy playing poker. However, we can’t say the same about online poker.
Being the sixth-largest state in the country, you might expect that some of the 7.4 million people in Arizona would enjoy playing poker online. This article looks at Arizona gambling laws and legislation about online poker. But before we go into more details, let’s look at the history of poker in Arizona.
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History of Arizona Poker
Arizona has a long history of gambling and by the mid-20th century, gambling was legal in the state. In 1988, the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act allowed gambling houses to stay in business even though state laws only allowed horse racing. This bill was created because of the political rivalry in tribal gambling at the time, and its passing made casino gambling popular in the state.
The first poker room in the Grand Canyon State was built in 1998 as a temporary structure. However, by March 1999, the structure expanded to include 250 slot machines. Presently, there are 33 casinos in Arizona and nine of them have poker rooms.
Is Online Poker Legal in Arizona?
No, it is not. Like most states in America, online poker is illegal in Arizona by default. The Grand Canyon State has explicit legislation making any gambling aside from legalized games illegal. Arizona currently does not have any legislation specifically targeting online poker and the state laws do not specify the game as legal or illegal.
Although gambling and online sports betting is legal in the state, the present government of Arizona has an unfavorable view on gambling, so it is highly unlikely that online poker will be legalized anytime soon. There have been no efforts from the legislation to regulate online poker at the state level. At a federal level, playing poker online is not illegal and thus playing online in the state of Arizona is deemed legal.
For gambling in Arizona, casual poker games for real money are allowed as long as no one is making a profit from hosting the game. Poker enthusiasts can enjoy online poker games as long as they play in their houses and on their computers. There has been no report of an individual being charged for playing online poker on his or her computer in Arizona.
Gambling laws in Arizona
Tourism is the leading industry in Arizona and gambling is a very popular type of entertainment in the Grand Canyon state. However, it’s important to know the gambling laws of the state so you don’t find yourself committing a felony.
The laws around gambling can be found under the criminal code in the Arizona Revised Statutes. Chapter 33 focuses on gambling. According to section 13-3301, “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.”
Thus, poker is considered gambling according to the law. The law goes further to specify the wagering that is considered legal. In section 5-112 of the Arizona revised statutes, it states that “no person may engage for a fee, property, salary or reward in the business of accepting, recording or registering any bet.”
Arizona’s constitution does not have any law that condemns playing poker online within state borders. This puts online poker in a confusing gray area between legal and not legal. However, live-room poker would fall under the definition of gambling as explained in Arizona law.
Social gambling – “betting with your friends,’’ – is defined as, “Any gambling where all players are competing on equal terms, and no one, even the host, is getting a direct or indirect benefit from the game, besides winning as a player,” is completely legal in Arizona.
To gamble legally in the Grand Canyon state, you must be 21 years of age or older. This includes taking part in the state lottery. However, to gamble legally online in Arizona, it must be done on a licensed site and residents need to be at least 18 years of age to take part. The minimum age to gamble in casinos, lotteries, and parimutuels is 21, while for bingo and pull-tabs it is 18.
The Grand Canyon State offers slot machines, keno, house-banked poker, blackjack, and a few other table games as legal gambling options, but the law forbids roulette, craps, and baccarat games, electronic or otherwise.
Who Regulates Online Poker in Arizona?
There are no regulated online poker sites within Arizona state lines. This is because Arizona’s laws do not address online poker. Although Arizona could begin regulating online poker at some point, the state’s legislation does not have any recent discussion of online poker regulation.
However, were online poker to be regulated, it would be done by the Grand Canyon’s Native American gaming operations. These operations manage the casinos and are governed by the Tribal-State Gaming Compacts, comprising the 21 Native American tribes.
If you’re wondering how this came to be, these Native American tribes spent months fighting to gain approval from the authorities, leading them to become the first beneficiary of regulated gambling in Arizona.
There are 22 tribal casinos in Arizona and they are controlled by the tribal gaming operations. They also control the state lottery, horse racing and charitable gambling within Arizona’s borders.
How to Play Real-Money Online Poker in Arizona
The legality of playing real-money online poker in Arizona hangs in a gray area. The laws of Arizona do not deem online poker as legal or illegal, which means it is illegal by default until legislation says otherwise. However, until the Grand Canyon State agrees to regulate online poker, players must be content with online poker sites under regulation by other states.
Nevada, a neighboring state, for example, has legal online poker sites that residents of Arizona can enjoy playing on. Online poker isn’t legal, so it would be difficult to play real-money poker. Until online poker is regulated, bettors can only play with real-money poker apps that use sweepstake coins.
However, even when using sweepstake coins, the laws of Arizona do not permit no-limit games. The betting cap limit for the Grand Canyon State is $500. When playing real-money poker in social casinos, you can buy sweepstake coins and gold coins to play and then convert prizes to cash when the game is over.
Another option is to play on offshore online poker sites. These are sites that are regulated by other states and Arizonian laws don’t deem this illegal. As such, local authorities don’t bother about these casinos. However, we are not certain that this will continue to be the case in the future. Nonetheless, it is a great option for players who want to play poker.
The Legality of Sweepstake Sites in Arizona
In Arizona, sweepstakes are allowed as long as participants do not pay a consideration. This means you cannot play directly with real money. Playing in sweepstakes or social casinos differs from social betting. The winners are chosen randomly from all participants.
To be classified as a legal lottery in any state in the country, the promotions must have at least two of these elements; prize, chance and consideration. In Arizona, there are requirements for a sweepstake; it must have a prize and a chance to be seen as a legal sweepstake. The site must also ensure that sweepstakes are only open to players 21 years or older with proof of age.
You don’t have to make purchases, but you can make donations and buy gold coins. Players are also required to pay tax based on their winnings. The Federal Trade Commission, Federal Communications Commission, United States Postal Service, and the United States Department of Justice regulate sweepstake sites at a national level.
Best sites to Play Real-Money Poker in Arizona
Ignition poker has made a good name for itself in the online betting world. The site is the seventh-largest online poker site in the world, thus it has a large following. The success of this site is partly because Ignition accepts players from two countries – America and Australia.
Ignition hosts several tournaments throughout the week, with games scheduled during the day and at night so players can choose their preference. However, the buy-in rates are different depending on the time zones. During the day, daily buy-ins are as low as $11, while at night buy-ins are from $55. The prize pool also varies. It ranges between $3,000 and $12,000 during the day and between $5,000 and $30,000 at night.
Online poker bonuses are quite attractive with Ignition, and will keep you playing for a long time. At their first deposit, new players get a 100% bonus of up to $2000 without having to enter any bonus codes.
For transactions, using cryptocurrencies like bitcoin has several advantages, one of which is that you can avoid banks that restrict gambling deposits. Your deposit will be instant, as will your withdrawals. Ignition has other more traditional payout options, such as credit cards like MasterCard, Visa, and American Express.
BetOnline has been a reliable poker site for Americans and players from other countries for over 15 years. It is an impressive site for new poker players. The competition is mild enough that you won’t lose your mind or your funds when you’re learning.
The buy-in ranges are also pocket-friendly, and the bonus offers are incredible. New players get a 100% first deposit bonus of up to $1,000, but you can only activate the bonus after depositing at least $50. There is a deposit bonus option of $2500 with over $150k in monthly guaranteed prize pools.
For game traffic, BetOnline holds a spot in the top three busiest US poker rooms. This could be because the site encourages cryptocurrency payout options which is a new favorite for bettors, and the fact that BetOnline is mobile-friendly. BetOnline has a mobile app version that is available to Android and iOS users. There is also software for both Macs and PCs.
Bettors don’t have to worry about the safety of their funds or private information. All transactions on BetOnline are encrypted, and your personal information is safe from outside companies. You can play real-money online poker on BetOnline knowing your prize money is safe.
Although the site does not accept PayPal, there are other payout and deposit options like credit cards and wire transfers. Using credit cards will incur a fee for the user and will take a long time to process, but the percentage depends on your banking method. However, using cryptocurrency like bitcoin does not incur any additional fee, and the payout is instant.
Bovada is one site where you will enjoy playing real-money poker. It is one of the most trusted poker sites in America. One thing Bovada casino can boast of is quick bonus payouts – and the regular payout options are just as fast. The site also has one of the best customer support systems of all online poker casinos.
The poker deposit bonus is a 100% match up to $500. You don’t earn the bonus at once. The site uses a progressive bonus system, which means you’ll earn pieces of the bonus as you collect Bovada reward points. When you have cleared part of the bonus, you can withdraw it on demand.
The cash game at Bovada has incredible traffic and the buy-ins range between $1 and $214, while tournament buy-in ranges from $1 to $325. It may be difficult to tell when Bovada has higher traffic because you cannot view the games that are playing.
For transactions, you need a trusted payment method, and Bovada poker offers several payment options. You can withdraw and make deposits using bitcoin, bitcoin cash, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and voucher payments.
Using cryptocurrency has its advantages. If you use bitcoin, you can enjoy instant withdrawals and no fees. Although your first credit card withdrawal is free, using a credit card for withdrawals incurs a 5.9% fee and takes 5-7 days to process. Bovada was initially licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission and the present licensing is from Curaçao eGaming.
This casino is perfect for players that enjoy playing with real money because they host weekly tournaments that are available to Arizonans. Americas Cardroom is rated second place among US-friendly poker sites and accepts players from 98% of states.
As a gaming policy, new players in ACR get 100% up to $2,000 for their first deposit, and exclusive bonuses can be found on-site. The online Super Series has over one hundred tournaments. There are also a variety of games like 5-card stud, lottery-style jackpot poker and fast-fold blitz poker.
You can enjoy playing on your computer, especially now that Windows and Mac users have access to full desktop ACR. Although there are faster poker sites, the Americas Cardroom web pages perform well enough with only minor complaints from players. You can also trust this site to keep your money safe and give it to you on demand.
The site has been running payouts consistently for over a decade, so it has established itself as a trustworthy site. For withdrawals, the site has cryptocurrency as a payout option. This has become the fastest and most preferred payout option. Unlike other traditional methods of withdrawal which can take at least a few days, cryptocurrency payout options deliver same-day payouts.
As for licensing, Americas Cardroom is licensed in Costa Rica. However, ACR does not have a specific license to operate online gambling services for Costa Rica.
Frequently Asked Questions About Online Poker in Arizona
Is it legal to play online poker in Arizona?
No. Online poker is not legal in Arizona. However, live poker rooms are legal and they exist across various tribes in the state that you can explore as a resident or a tourist. Players can also play on offshore sites as it has not been deemed explicitly illegal.
Are poker tournaments available to Arizona players?
Yes. All poker tournaments accept players from Arizona. Your location is not part of your eligibility for poker tournaments.
What is the legal gambling age in Arizona?
The legal age for gambling in Arizona is 21. However, bingo and charitable gaming require a person to be 18 or older. For online gaming, you can engage in betting if you are 18 or older.
When will Arizona legalize online poker?
There is no way to estimate when Arizona will legalize online poker. The state once frowned on all forms of gambling and no recent legislation suggests Arizona will legalize online poker.
Will I get arrested for playing online poker in Arizona?
No one has ever been arrested for playing online poker on their computer. There are no regulated sites to play online poker. However, if you play poker online through social casinos and offshore sites, you should not have a problem.