The ink hasn’t quite dried on the draft rules for the Arizona legal sports betting industry and already there is a race to gain one of the valuable 20 licenses in what is expected to be a robust market. Legal sports betting operators have been busy aligning with Arizona’s tribal casinos and pro sports facilities in order to get a leg up in their application quest.
Most of the biggest players in the US market have already gained access to the Arizona market through strategic partnerships. Caesars thanks to an existing relationship between its Harrah’s brand and the Ak-Chin Indian band, WynnBET, through a partnership deal announced with the San Carlos Apache Tribe July 2 and Kindred, who gained access through the Quechan Tribe are already there, as are the two DFS giants and Bally’s Corp.
This week came word that the yet-to-be-launched Arizona legal sports betting scene has added two more Heavyweight providers to their list of prospective operators. PointsBet gained Arizona market access as of Tuesday thanks to a deal with the Yavapai-Apache Nation and their Cliff Castle Casino Hotel and Penn National’s Barstool Sportsbook on Wednesday was able to sign a partnership deal with Phoenix Raceway.
Why Arizona is a Hot Commodity
Arizona has long been viewed as a coveted destination for legal sports betting providers. Bouyed by the 14th largest population in the nation and teams in all four major North American sports, it is expected that Arizona will be a robust and competitive market.
The state is home to 7.3 million residents (14th largest in the nation) and home to The Arizona Diamondbacks of MLB, The Arizona Cardinals of the NFL, the Phoenix Sunds of the NBA and Phoenix Coyotes of the NHL. The appetite for legal sports betting is palpable for sports fans, sports teams, betting providers, the state’s Indian Tribes and now lawmakers in the state.
Lawmakers have acted quickly since Governor Doug Ducey renegotiated the state’s tribal compacts and signed legal sports betting into law in April. It was July 2 that the Arizona Department of Gaming provided its draft of proposed rules. A public hearing goes Friday and the application for potential providers will happen shortly after that.
The evolution has been swift in Arizona, creating a bit of a feeding frenzy within the prospective legal sports betting industry.
What Penn National Brings to the Table
Penn National has long been one of the more aggressive and successful sportsbooks operating in the US scene. Their acquisition of Barstool Sportsbook, which will be the brand launching in Arizona has only strengthened their status in the broader scene.
As it stands, Penn National has 42 properties in 20 states. They know who to target and they know how to grow their brand. Becoming “exclusive sportsbook of Phoenix Raceway” represents yet another shrewd move by the provider to not only grow their product with NASCAR fans but to also get their foot in the door of another potentially huge legal sports betting market.
“Barstool Sportsbook has proven itself to be a market leader in the jurisdictions where it has launched due to a combination of unique offers and a leading mobile experience,” said Jon Kaplowitz, senior vice president of Penn Interactive, via press release. “This new partnership will allow us to engage a passionate sports fan base in Arizona while having access to a best-in-class sports entertainment facility in Phoenix Raceway.”
PointsBet is another one of the elite sports betting providers in the broader US industry. They offer a top tier legal sports betting experience and have been a factor in 15 states already with a high market share in each. They bring a wealth of global experience to Arizona and an impressive amount of knowhow of just how to launch in a new sports betting jurisdiction.
PointsBet has lined up a partnership deal with Cliff Castle Casino, which lies about 90 minutes north of Phoenix and 45 minutes south of Flagstaff. It is sure to be a mutually beneficial partnership that gives Cliff Castle Casino some serious clout in the broader Arizona market and gives PointsBet valuable access in a market that is slated to go live in less than two months.
“PointsBet and our partners at Cliff Castle are proud to begin the process toward offering our differentiated sports betting product and world-class technology to fans all over Arizona,” PointsBet USA CEO Johnny Aitken said via press release. “We welcome the opportunity to quickly and responsibly introduce prospective sports bettors to the customer-focused, market-leading PointsBet experience, where our proprietary technology platform, unrivaled speed, ease of use, and deep slate of the most betting options in the world will disrupt the market for the better.”
Where the Arizona Market Stands
With regulatory hurdles being cleared seemingly ever day and with all of the big names in the US legal sports betting provider world lining up for a shot at the Arizona market, the Grand Canyon State looks more than ready for the starting gun for their legal sports betting industry to be fired.
The beginning of the NFL season is the launch goal for the Arizona legal sports betting industry – that’s less than two months away. While there seems to be a lot of work ahead of that hopeful date, the smart money is on Arizonans being able to throw down on their beloved Cardinals ahead of their November 12 season opener.