Arizona Horse Racing & Sports Betting

Horse Racing in Arizona

What horse racing tracks currently exist in Arizona?

arizona horse racing

The state of Arizona offers year-round horse racing at three different thoroughbred tracks:

  • Turf Paradise: Turf Paradise opened in 1956 on 1,400 acres of land purchased two years earlier by Phoenix businessman Walter Cluer, and was the first professional sports franchise to open in Arizona. Some 50 years later, Turf Paradise is the third largest sports attraction in the Grand Canyon state.
  • Rillito Park: Rillito Park first opened in 1942, and even 73 years later, offers Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred racing in Tucson, Arizona. Notable events, such as the first starting gate chute and the earliest use of photo-electric timers, have earned the charming five furlong track a place on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Arizona Downs: Located in Prescott Valley, about an hour’s drive north of Phoenix, Arizona Downs was originally known as Yavapai Downs and then Prescott Downs. After decades of racing at the the old Rodeo Grounds from 1959 to 2000, the track went through a period of multiple closures and relocations. The new Arizona Downs opened in May of 2019.

Sports Betting in Arizona

Is sports-betting legal in Arizona?


The Arizona state senate passed new legislation on April 12, 2021, making sports betting legal in the Grand Canyon state. Governor Ducey signed off on the bill 3 days later on April 15th, with online and retail sports betting expected to be launched throughout the state by the Fall.

When can I bet on sports in Arizona through TwinSpires?

September of 2021

The expected start date for licensed operators to begin accepting wagers on sports is September 9th. This date coincides with the launch of the 2021 NFL football season.

The Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) worked through their rule development process with impressive speed, solidifying their guidelines and beginning to accept license applications July 26th. At the closure of the application period on August 9th, the ADG confirmed the submission of 25 applications for a total of 20 available licenses. The applications came from 10 business organizations and 15 tribes.

What sports can I bet on in Arizona?

Arizona permits sports wagering for your favorite collegiate and professional sporting events, including local teams such as the Cardinals (NFL), Diamondbacks (MLB), Suns (NBA), and Coyotes (NHL)! There are a few limitations on wagers related to collegiate sports however. For example, operators will not be able to accept prop bets on individual collegiate athlete performances.

  • National Football League (NFL)
  • National Basketball Association (NBA)
  • Major League Baseball (MLB)
  • College Football (NCAAF)
  • College Basketball (NCAAB)
  • National Hockey League (NHL)
  • Soccer
  • Golf
  • Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)
  • Boxing
  • Tennis
  • Auto Racing (NASCAR)
  • Horse Racing
  • and more!

What types of sports bets can I make in Arizona?

Expect to place sports bets that you would typically desire to find at any online sportsbook.

  • Moneyline Betting
  • Over/Under Betting
  • Futures Betting
  • Spread Betting
  • Props Betting
  • Runline Betting

How does Arizona sports betting work?

Similar to most states with legalized sports betting, any residents or visitors to Arizona (ages 21 or older) may place wagers online through an approved sports betting operator, so long as they are physically present within the borders of the state.

Each sports betting license will operators to accept online wagers and to establish a brick-and-mortar location where bets may be placed in person.

Classic Sports Betting Moments in Arizona History

With professional sports franchises from all four major sports (NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL), Arizona expects to enjoy significant betting activity from sports fans beginning this Fall. Additionally, the state is how to two PAC-12 collegiate teams, the University of Arizona Wildcats and the Arizona State Sun Devils

An All-Time Bad Beat for Cardinals Fans

In November of 2019, the Arizona Cardinals and traveled to San Francisco to face the 49ers as 10 point underdogs. Trailing by just 4 points as time expired, the Cardinals snapped the ball from their own 22-yard line, hoping for a miraculous play that would secure a game-winning touchdown.

What happened next was certainly miraculous, but not for fans of the Cardinals, and most definitely not for anyone who’d taken the ten points and wagered on the Cardinals.

The play starts off innocently enough, as Quarterback Kyler Murray complete a short pass to Larry Fitzgerald. With defenders quickly closing in on Fitzgerald, he turns to make a backward lateral pass, and things begin getting weird.

The closest “receiver” in the vicinity of Fitzgerald’s lateral was 320lb left tackle D.J. Humphries, who unsurprising did not catch the pass. A brief scrum ensues as several 49ers and Cardinals players dive for the live ball, at which point the game appears to be over. Final (would-be) score would have been 49ers: 30, Cardinals: 26.

However, as what appear to be two Cardinals players fight for possession on the ground, the ball inexplicably shoots out from the pile, back past the original line of scrimmage. Near the 5-yard line, with no time on the clock, 49ers cornerback DJ Reed, scoops up the ball and steps into the end zone for a 49ers touchdown.

Thus, the official final score moved to 49ers: 36, Cardinals: 26. For most bettors who took the Cardinals with the ten points, a sure-fire win suddenly became a heart-breaking push. Even worse, some operators has the line at 49ers -9.5, meaning that anyone taking the Cardinals with just 9.5 points to give ended up not just pushing, but losing as a result of that play.