It has been a long road for the state of Arizona in welcoming their own legal sports betting platform. The light at the end of the tunnel became brighter last week with the announcement of the successful licensees by the state’s Department of Gaming. The regulatory body last week announced 18 of the 20 available licenses with all 10 Tribal licenses being announced and only eight of 10 of the professional sports betting licenses coming to light.
The Arizona market is scheduled to go live September 9, the same day that the NFL kicks off its season and sportsbooks around the country wait eagerly for. Arizona’s inclusion into the US legal sports betting family brings the 14th largest population in the US (7.3 million residents) into the wagering fray and allows a rabid fanbase to finally wager on their beloved Arizona Cardinals of the NFL, Phoenix Suns of the NBA, Arizona Diamondbacks of MLB and Phoenix Coyotes of the NHL.
Tribes’ Sportsbook Affiliations
All of the Heavyweight providers within the broader US legal sports betting industry were in a race to sign on with one of Arizona’s tribes for the honor of taking bets in the much-anticipated Arizona scene.
As it stands, all 10 tribal licenses have been awarded and all have third-party providers operating their platforms. There are 16 Arizona tribes that were after 10 licences – 6 were unfortunately left out.
The Fort Mojave Indian Tribe signed with SuperBook Sports, the Navajo Nation has curiously failed to name the sportsbook they are aligning with, Fort Yuma Quechan and Kindred/Unibet will be working together, the Tonto Apache and Churchill Downs/TwinSpires signed a partnership deal, the Tohono O’odham Nation, like the Navajo hasn’t named their sportsbook partner as of yet, the Hualpai Tribe and Golden Nugget have partnered up, the Ak-Chin Indian Community and Fubo Gaming have teamed, the San Juan Souther Paiute and Betway are partners, the San Carlos Apache and WynnBET aligned Friday and the Fort McDowell Yavap will use Betfred to provide its legal sports betting services.
Not everybody that had hoped to have a presence in the Arizona legal sports betting scene is happy after last week’s licensing announcements. Some tribes were left out of the licensing process by the Arizona Department of Gaming and some major providers that were aligned with those tribes won’t have a seat at the Arizona table.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is PointsBet, who lost out on their chance at the Arizona market when the Yavapi-Apache Nation which PointsBet was tethered to was one of the tribes to lose out in the licensing process.
Gila River Casinos, which runs three retail casinos around Arizona and has Heavyweight provider BetMGM in their corner also failed to gain a license.
The Yavapi Prescott is yet another tribe that lost out on their chance at the Arizona piece of the pie. They, unlike the others are taking matters a step further and have filed a lawsuit that could threaten the September launch. Their claim seems to be a longshot at best.
Now for the Professional Sports Licenses
Only eight of the 10 professional sports licences were announced last week. The NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes and two IFL teams the Tucson Sugar Skulls and the Northern Arizona Wranglers were rumored to be in on the licensing process but for some reason either were deemed ineligible or didn’t receive approval.
So far, Bally’s and the WNBA‘s Phoenix Mercury have teamed up, BetMGM and the Arizona Cardinals aligned, Caesars Sportsbook and MLB‘s Arizona Diamondbacks are partners, Penn National Gaming/Barstool Sportsbook and Phoenix Raceway signed a partnership deal, Rush Street Interactive/Bet Rivers signed on with and Arizona Rattlers (IFL) and the two DFS giants operating in the US legal sports betting scene are in on Arizona’s market thanks to deals with the NBA‘s Phoenix Suns and TPC Scottsdale respectively.
September 9 Still the Goal
Despite some potential legal challenges to the Arizona legal sports betting industry and its alleged violation to the Voter Protection Act, according to the Yavapi Prescott Tribe, everything seems to be on track for the desired November 9 launch.
Sign up was able to start Saturday for major sportsbooks in the Grand Canyon State and bettors were there to take advantage of the early registration promotions and offers being doled out by the state’s operators. Early registration coincided with the rollout of DFS in the state.
It remains unclear as to where the Arizona scene will fall on the list of bet-friendly states in the nation but if anticipation and hype are any gage, their platform could quickly elevate and land on the top-10 list before too long. Stay tuned.