New Arizona bill would legalize sports betting but exclude small business operations

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Betting on Phoenix Suns games or any other sporting event is one step closer to reality after a new bill advanced on the state capitol, but not everyone is happy about the proposal.

Dave Delos, who owns six bars across the Valley, said he viewed  HB 2772 as a way to help small businesses, especially bars, as a way to bounce back financially after the pandemic robbed them of profits.

"Really, all we are looking for is keno and enhanced lottery products," said Delos. The President of the Arizona Licensed Beverage Association said they just want a piece of the profit that's coming.

HB 2772 would legalize sports betting, among other new gambling. The bill introduced by Rep. Jeff Weninger and backed by Governor Doug Ducey, who struck a deal with tribes and got support from professional sports franchises, leaves bars out of the bill, but it would allow pro-sports franchises like the Phoenix Suns and casinos to have betting operations.

"It's an outrage to all us small business owners to not even be mentioned in the discussion," said Delos. Delos now has support from several lawmakers, including Democratic Representative Diego Espinoza, who voted for the bill but said he wanted to see bars and possibly restaurants included. We reached out several times to Rep. Weninger and have not heard back.

"Small businesses, there is no reason why we can't participate in this," said Delos.