Arizona Bill Legalizing ADW Sent to Governor

It passes both legislative houses in early morning hours April 24; approval expected.

A bill that would allow legal advance deposit wagering in Arizona beat the legislative deadline in the early morning hours April 24 and has been sent to Gov. Jan Brewer for her signature.

"We know it's going to have a positive effect on horse racing in Arizona and we're very much looking forward to it," said Vince Francia, general manager of Turf Paradise in Phoenix. "Of course, ADW has been alive and well here for some time. They've just been doing it illegally."

Brewer has 10 days to consider the legislation, SB 1282 authored by Sen. Steve Pierce, a Republican. Francia said he does not expect it to encounter difficulty after it managed to sail through the Arizona House 51-5, and then by the Senate on a 23-3 vote later that same night. it was one of two final bills to be passsed prior to adjournment of the session.

"We're generating enough letters to the governor's office as a way to make sure she's aware of how much we want her to sign it," Francia said.

Francia gave credit for the success of the bill to Pierce, who he said is owns and breeds horses, "and is very much involved in racing." He also credited the efforts of the Arizona Horseman's Benevolent and Protective Association in pushing the legislation.

While some 37 states have already approved ADW or phone betting, Francia said Arizona has depended on a large off-track betting network of 62 satellite facilities. He said he did not expect the introduction of ADW to adversely affect them.

"It's more of a social thing," he said of the OTBs. "While betting by phone or computer is solitary."

Likewise, he said attendance at Turf Paradise has been on the increase for the past five years, thanks to social media efforts, and is currently up 8% over last year. He doesn't expect that trend to reverse.

"We've been using social media methods to reach young people, and when you do that, they respond," Francia said.