Recently, the Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) announced plans to go live with legal sports betting on Sept. 9. Interestingly enough, that also happens to be the same day that the NFL kicks off its 2021 regular season with a Thursday Night Football showdown between the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The final step in the regulatory process is public comment on the drafted rules and regulations. They will be made available on June 14 with a one-week window lasting until June 21.
The ADG will then set time aside to complete any necessary amendments. The timing of these final two steps has been designed to meet the planned Sept. 9 launch.
The starting point in the regulatory process dates back to April 15 of this year when Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation that gave approval to the newly amended Tribal State Gaming Compacts. This opened the door to legalized sports betting as well as daily fantasy sports (DFS) contests within Arizona’s borders.
Arizona law calls for as many as 20 sports betting licenses. Existing gaming tribes qualify for half of these licenses. The other 10 have been reserved for professional sports teams in Arizona looking to offer legal sports betting in their home arenas or stadiums.
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Other provisions of this gambling expansion legislation include Keno games at off-track horse betting locations as well as social clubs such as the American Legion, Moose Club, Elks Club, etc.
While there are provisions for online sports betting through mobile sportsbook apps, the expansion bill did not include online casino games or poker.
Following approval by state lawmakers and the governor, the new tribal compacts underwent one final review by the US Department of Interior. That department gave its official approval on May 24.
Three prominent US-based sportsbooks have already established a business relationship in Arizona.
On April 14, DraftKings announced a new strategic partnership with the PGA Tour. This will lead to retail and mobile sports betting at TPC Scottsdale and the annual Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Around the same time, FanDuel became the Official Sportsbook and Daily Fantasy Sports Partner of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Those plans call for a FanDuel retail sportsbook inside the Phoenix Suns Arena. The target date for that project is next April ahead of the new NBA season.
Caesars Entertainment made its move into Arizona in early May through a sponsorship deal with MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks. The centerpiece of this new partnership is a land-based retail sportsbook in Chase Field in downtown Phoenix. This deal also covers mobile betting marketing opportunities with the team.
Industry experts see quite a bit of potential in the Arizona market behind its plan for retail and mobile sports betting.