How Many Tribal Gaming Locations Are There in Arizona?
Currently, there are 24 Class III gaming facilities in Arizona, operated by 16 different tribes. Those Class III casinos may offer “Las Vegas style” gaming activities (e.g. slot machines, house-banked poker, and blackjack) and are regulated by both the Arizona Department of Gaming and the Tribal Gaming Authority of the tribe that owns the casino.
There is one Class II facility regulated solely by the tribe that operates the facility with oversight from federal authorities under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. A Class II facility may offer bingo and non-house banked card games.
How Many Types of Gaming Are There?
There are three types of tribal gaming and two types of casinos:
Class I Gaming—Means social games solely for prizes of minimal value, or traditional forms of Indian gaming engaged in by individuals as a part of, or in connection with, tribal ceremonies or celebrations. Class I gaming on tribal lands is exclusively regulated by tribal ordinances. Off of tribal lands, Arizona state law governs gaming between individuals (A.R.S. §§13-3301, et seq.)
Class II- A Class II facility is regulated independently by each tribe with oversight provided by the Federal Government through the National Indian Gaming Commission. Games at a Class II facility are limited to games or gambling devices based on the game of bingo, and card games in which players play only against each other, and the house cannot win (also known as “non-house banked” card games). At least two players are required for a game.
Class III—A Class III casino is regulated by both the Arizona Department of Gaming and the Tribal Gaming Authority of the tribe that owns the casino, and requires the tribe operating the casino to enter into a valid Tribal-State Gaming Compact with the State before it may operate the casino. Class III casinos include full “Las Vegas style” gaming such as slot machines, house-banked poker, and blackjack, except Class III casinos may not offer casino games that are not authorized by state law or specifically allowed in the Compact. The games of roulette, craps, and baccarat are not allowed in Arizona.
Who Regulates Casinos in Arizona?
Class II—A Class II facility is regulated by the tribe that owns it, with oversight by the National Indian Gaming Commission. The Arizona Department of Gaming has no jurisdiction over Class II facilities.
Class III—All Class III casinos are regulated by both the Arizona Department of Gaming and the Tribal Gaming Authority of the tribe that owns the casino, in accordance with the Arizona Tribal-State Gaming Compact. The Compact specifies the procedures for operating a casino in great detail. All Class III casinos are required to complete an extensive checklist, and must receive certification from the Department before opening for business. These casinos are subject to both random inspections and annual compliance and financial audits by the Department to ensure compliance with the Compact.
What Types of Games are at the Casinos?
Class II- A Class II facility offers devices based solely on the game of bingo and requires at least two players for a game. They may also offer card games in which players play only against each other, and the house cannot win (also known as “non-house banked” card games).
Class III- A Class III Casino offers players what is commonly thought of as “Las Vegas Style” gaming. This includes slot machines, Keno and house banked poker and blackjack table games. The games of roulette, craps and baccarat are not allowed at any casino in Arizona
What Kind of Payout Can I Expect?
Note: Payout percentages are over the expected life of a gaming device. The outcome of any one play or series of plays is completely random. All gaming activity involves risk.
Class II- Payout percentages for a Class II facility are set solely by the tribe. Any changes to payout percentages are approved by tribal regulators.
Class III- A Class III casino must meet Compact requirements, which set the minimum payout at 80-83%. This means that a machine must return 80-83% of wagers over the expected life of the machine. If at any time a Class III casino wishes to alter the payout percentage it must receive approval from the respective Tribal Gaming Authority (TGA), and notify the Department of the change. The machines that have been changed must stay out of play until inspected by both the Department and the TGA to make sure it still is meeting all requirements.
What If I Have a Complaint About the Facility, Need to Dispute a Payout, or Get Injured?
Class II—Contact the facility operator and the appropriate Tribal Gaming Authority to address any patron complaints or legal claims. A claim can also be directed to the National Indian Gaming Commission’s Phoenix Regional Office at 602-640-2951. The Arizona Department of Gaming has no regulatory role with respect to Class II facilities.
Class III- A Class III casino in Arizona is required to offer a patron dispute process. This process is initiated through the appropriate Tribal Gaming Authority (TGA). Depending on the type of claim, it may be handled by the TGA and the tribe’s risk management agent. Any decision can be appealed to Tribal Court for a further review. (Note: Arizona state courts do not have jurisdiction over incidents on tribal land.) Arizona requires each tribe engaged in operating a Class III casino to maintain a minimum of $2 million in insurance for injury or property damage claims.
How Do I Get Help For a Gambling Problem?
If you believe you or someone you love is having difficulty controlling their gambling, contact the Arizona Office of Problem Gambling at 1-800-NEXT STEP (1-800-639-8783).