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What’s the Next Step for Arizona’s Sports Betting Program?

Robert Linnehan

by Robert Linnehan in Sports Betting News

Aug 30, 2021 · 11:33 AM PDT

Arizona Diamondbacks players celebrate
Arizona Diamondbacks' David Peralta, Ketel Marte and Pavin Smith, from left, celebrate after the team's baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021, in Phoenix. The Diamondbacks won 4-2. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
  • Arizona sports betting will launch on Thursday, Sept. 9, at 12:01 a.m.
  • Users can register and fund sports betting accounts with licensed operators.
  • Daily fantasy sports contests are already live in the state.

Arizona sports betting is rolling towards its Thursday, Sept. 9 launch. The Arizona Department of Gaming allocated eight sports betting licenses to professional sports teams/organizations and 10 to tribal nations in the state as sportsbook operators are beginning to give state bettors a glimpse into their offerings.

Sports betting will begin in the state at 12:01 a.m., Sept. 9, but account registration and funding has already begun. Additionally, daily fantasy sports competitions have opened and are currently live. Barstool Sportsbook in AZ is primed and ready for launch day.

Where Can You Place Bets?

Here’s where the state currently stands on its sports betting journey. The Arizona Department of Gaming received eight sports teams/organization applicants. Here are allocated licenses to the Arizona professional sports franchises and their sportsbook operator partnerships:

  • Arizona Coyotes (no partnership announced)
  • Phoenix Mercury (Bally’s)
  • Arizona Cardinals and Arizona Gila River casino properties (BetMGM)
  • Arizona Diamondbacks (Caesars)
  • TPC Scottsdale (DraftKings)
  • Phoenix Suns (FanDuel Sportsbook)
  • Phoenix Raceway (Penn National Gaming)
  • Arizona Rattlers (Rush Street Interactive)

Caesars has already made plans to have a temporary sportsbook available at Chase Field, home of the Diamondbacks, on Sept. 9. The temporary sportsbook will be operational at box office ticket windows 21 to 25, marking the first time a sportsbook will be live at an MLB stadium. A permanent two-story sportsbook and sports bar will be constructed in the space formerly occupied by Game 7 Grill on the plaza and five walk-up kiosks will be installed in the north side of the plaza.

There are still two available licenses for professional sports organizations in the state. PointsBet, which had partnered with the Yavapai-Apache Nation, was not awarded a sports betting license by the department. PointsBet released a statement today that it would continue to explore market access options for the state, so this could potentially be an avenue for the sportsbook operator if it can partner with a remaining sports organization or group.

“Whilst disappointed that Cliff Castle was not awarded a license, PointsBet continues to assess market access opportunities in Arizona,” the company noted in a release.

Arizona Tribal License Winners

The department received 16 qualified tribal applicants. The department awarded the 10 licenses based on a set of 19 criteria, including gaming experience and track record of the applicant. Here are the winning tribal casino applicants and their sportsbook operator partnerships:

  • Ak-Chin Indian Community (Fubo Gaming)
  • Tonto Apache Tribe (Churchill Downs)
  • San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe (Digital Gaming)
  • Ft. McDowell Yavapai Nation (BetFred)
  • Hualapai Tribe (Golden Nugget)
  • Navajo Nation (no partnership announced)
  • Fort Mojave Indian Tribe (SuperBook Sports)
  • Tohono O’odham Nation (no partnership announced)
  • Quechan Tribe (Unibet Arizona)
  • San Carlos Apache Tribe (WynnBet)

While the sportsbook licenses are in place, the launch may be challenged by a pending lawsuit against the state. Filed on Thursday, Aug. 26, by the Yavapai Prescott Indian Tribe, the lawsuit seeks judgement declaring the state’s sports betting bill as unconstitutional because it violates the state’s Voter Protection Act. The Voter Protection Act declares the “legislature shall not have the power to amend an initiative measure approved by a majority of the votes cast thereon, or to amend a referendum measure decided by a majority of votes cast thereon, unless the amending legislation furthers the purposes of such measure.”

Additionally, a motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction has been filed, requesting the state be unable to allow sports betting until the case can be heard.

An emergency hearing of the case has been scheduled for Friday, Sept. 3, according to the Maricopa Country Superior Court.

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