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Arizona Sports Betting Scene Preparing for Launch

General view of Chase Field on April 09, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

One of the last hurdles to clear before the launch of Arizona’s legal sports betting platform came Monday when The US Department of the Interior approved a gaming compact between the state’s Native American gaming tribes and the government, way ahead of the 45-day approval period that began April 16.

On April 15, Arizona governor Doug Ducey officially signed the newest iteration of the tribal compact for the state and in turn, gave some oxygen to the outlining features of the prospective sports betting platform. The new compact paved the way for an updated, modernized agreement with the state’s Native American tribes and gave birth to the expansion of wagering in Arizona, including the launch of a new retail and mobile sports betting scene.

What It Means for Arizona

The process of bringing in a legal sports betting platform to Arizona is long overdue. Sports betting has had the support of a host of lawmakers and the Phoenix Coyotes, Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, PGA Tour and Phoenix Raceway – all of which hold some influence in the state.

With legalization, 7.3 million Arizonans will be able to place a bet on their favorite sporting event and early estimates have sportsbooks contributing $154.4 million in annual taxable sports betting revenue upon industry maturation.

“Gaming creates thousands of jobs for Arizonans, it generates tax revenue that benefits key areas of our communities, and it draws visitors to our state,” said Ducey said in a statement. “The tribal-state gaming compact amendment, along with its associated legislation, was the culmination of a multi-year process and I was proud to work with all the stakeholders on this historic accomplishment.”

What the Platform Will Look Like

The Arizona legal sports betting platform will see 20 wagering provider licenses awarded within the state – 10 to professional sports organizations and 10 to the state’s tribes. With 19 federally recognized Arizona tribes, it is unclear as to which will even apply for one of those licenses.

The licenses will be both retail and mobile in nature. DFS has been included in the recently passed legislation as well.

Beyond that, details are few and far between. The Arizona Department of Gaming still has to finalize a lot of the finer details including taxation and draft rules. There should be a whole lot more clarity by mid-June as to exactly what the platform will look like. But the legislative portion of the plan is complete for now.

Let the Competition Begin

Arizona owns the 14th largest population in the nation and franchises in all four major sports. There is the expectation that top-end sports betting providers will soon be lining up for the chance of receiving one of the 20 sought after licensees.

BetMGM, WynnBET, theScore, Penn National’s Barstool Sports, PointsBet are already rumored to have peeked in on the Arizona situation with other big names sure to follow.

The two DFS giants in the US legal sports betting scene already have a presence in the state – one has a partnership with the Phoenix Suns of the NBA and the other has a marketing agreement in place with TPC Scottsdale. Caesars inked a sponsorship deal with the Arizona Diamondback earlier this month.

Potential Launch Date

There is still a fair amount of work to be done before the official launch of an Arizona legal sports betting platform, but it appears as if most of the heavy lifting has been done.

The start of the NFL season appears to be the goal for launch for Arizona’s industry and the state looks like they are on track to meet that goal. The only thing certain right now is the most important – that the legal sports betting platform has been OK’d by all the legislative bodies.

It will be a busy summer in Arizona but an interesting one as regulators scramble to set in stone just what their betting industry will look like.