Legal Online Poker in Arizona
Arizona joined the US gambling scene somewhat late compared to its neighbors. Most gambling forms were illegal, and there were no commercial gambling venues in the state until the 1990s. It was only with the passing of the Indian Regulatory Gaming Act of 1988 that the AZ gambling scene started to flourish.
Today, the Grand Canyon State boasts one of the most robust gambling offers in the country. It includes a wide range of tribal casinos, online sports betting, fantasy sports, and more. While AZ online casino gambling isn’t part of this offer yet, it shouldn’t be long before it becomes available.
Keep reading if you’re interested in what that means for poker fans. This article will discuss the status of land-based and online poker in Arizona and where you can play this popular game in the Copper State.
Is Online Poker Legal in Arizona?
To understand the legality of online poker in Arizona, we have to discuss the status of gambling in this state. As mentioned, all forms of gambling were strictly prohibited in the Grand Canyon State until the last decade of the old millennium. The federal government’s passing of the 1988 Indian Gambling Regulatory Act marked the first significant shift in the history of gambling in AZ. It allowed all federally recognized Native American tribes to open and regulate gambling activity on their land. The law was relevant for many states, but it carried considerable weight for Arizona, which has 22 federally recognized tribes inhabiting 27% of its territory.
The tribes jumped at the opportunity to open the first land-based gambling venues in Arizona without negotiating compacts with the state authorities. Expectedly, their actions weren’t received well. The opening of the first AZ tribal casinos was followed by years of raids, casino shutdowns, and legal battles. However, voters upheld tribal gaming in Arizona in 2002, and the governor eventually signed compacts with 17 tribes.
Today, the Copper State is home to 25 tribal casinos with Class III games, including poker. However, there are no laws that allow any venue in the state to run online gambling operations. As a result, Arizona currently offers no state-licensed real-money online poker rooms.
Nevertheless, Arizonians have recently got the chance to enjoy some forms of online gambling within the borders of their home state. AZ authorities signed a new compact with the tribes in 2021. It introduced sports betting and daily fantasy sports into its scope of regulated gambling activities.
Like many other states in the US, Arizona bases its gambling laws on the premise that all gambling is illegal unless it falls into one of five categories.
You can read more about them and learn about poker in AZ in the laws linked below.
- 1988 Indian Gambling Regulatory Act
- Arizona Revised Statutes (“A.R.S.”) § 13-3301(4)
- House Bill 2772
Best Legal Poker Rooms in Arizona
Now that you’re familiar with the legality of poker in Arizona, you must wonder where you can play this game in the state. The following sections provide information about Arizona’s legal land-based and online poker rooms. Read on to learn all you need to know.
Legal Online Poker in Arizona
Arizona hasn’t legalized internet gambling yet, so it offers no state-licensed sites where you can play poker for real money. However, that doesn’t mean Arizonian poker fans can’t try their hand at this casino classic at all.
Arizona Department of Gaming, the state’s official gambling regulatory body, recognizes social gaming as a legal activity. As a result, The Grand Canyon State lets players join and play at several sweepstakes and social casinos that operate on the state level. These sites host poker games with modified rules and let users wager on them using casino credits, so they fall under AZ’s definition of social gambling.
Since the official gambling legislature doesn’t comprise any stipulations that directly prohibit online poker, Arizonians have another alternative. They can play real-money poker on numerous offshore-licensed gambling platforms. These sites don’t fall under the jurisdiction of Arizona, so they’re entirely legal and free to offer multiple variants of online poker and poker tournaments. If you’re interested in trying them, you can find a list of some of the best ones below.
My list of the best US poker sites which I consider to be the best rooms to play in 2023:
- BetOnline Poker
- Ignition Poker
- Everygame Poker
- Juicy Stakes Poker
- ACR Poker
- Bovada Poker
- BlackChip Poker
- SportsBetting Poker
100% Legal & Licensed Verified Bonus Mobile Friendly Advertiser Disclosure. Must be +18 to participate.
Legal Land-Based Poker in Arizona
Tribal casinos are the only venues where you can play land-based poker for real money in Arizona. This state boasts no commercial gambling establishments or poker rooms. There are currently 25 Indian casinos in the state, but four more are due to open in the Phoenix area shortly. Most of them offer electronic real-money poker games.
Besides these establishments, Arizona residents are free to play land-based poker in several other settings:
- At home with friends
- At state fair gambling events
- At raffles and similar events hosted by tax-exempt organizations
- At raffles organized by the state, a county, or a historical society
- At raffles conducted by non-profit organizations
How to Register at a Legal Online Poker Site in ArizonaIf you’d like to join one of the offshore-licensed online poker sites we recommended, we’ve got you covered. The following list outlines how to join any of these casinos easily.
Choose an online poker siteBrowse the gambling sites on our list, check out their game offer, and select the one you like best.
SignupVisit the poker room’s official website and complete the registration form by providing your name, address, phone number, and other similar information.
Send the required documents so the poker room’s management team can verify and activate your account.
Deposit & PlayNavigate to the Cashier section, go through the list of available payment methods, and select the one you want to use. Enter the amount of money you’d like to transfer, confirm your request, and wait for the funds to appear in your balance.
Look through the gaming section, locate the poker games, try them in demo mode if possible, and find your favorite.
Land-Based Casinos With Live Poker
The above-mentioned tribal casinos are the only brick-and-mortar locations in Arizona where you can play live poker. Nevertheless, not all 25 include designated poker rooms. Only 19 of those venues feature land-based live poker tables. They’re scattered across the state, so you should be able to find one near you regardless of where you live. Here’s a list of the best ones, their addresses, and their websites:
- Desert Diamond Casino & Hotel — 7350 S. Nogales Hwy, Tucson, AZ 85756
- Gila River Resorts & Casino Vee Quiva — 6443 North Komatke Lane Laveen, AZ 85339
- Casino Arizona — 524 N 92nd St, Scottsdale, AZ 85256
- Talking Stick Resort — 9800 Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85256
- Apache Gold Casino Resort — 777 Geronimo Springs Blvd, San Carlos, AZ 85550
It’s legal to play at any of them as long as you are 21 or older.
Arizona doesn’t have the most extensive poker offer in the US, but it has more than enough to satisfy your gambling appetites. The Copper State boasts 25 tribal casinos with electronic and live poker games and several sweepstakes and social casinos with modified poker variants. While its real-money online gambling sector isn’t legal yet, recent sports betting and DFS laws suggest that might change soon. Stay tuned.