How was your experience?

You need to check the captcha*
message icon

Thanks for your feedback!

Arizona Zeroes in on September 9 for Legal Sports Betting Launch

profile image of sbr
Arizona Zeroes in on September 9 for Legal Sports Betting Launch
Phoenix Suns Arena on April 07, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

Bettors in the state of Arizona won’t have to wait much longer before they are officially able to place a legal sports wager on their favorite team. The sports betting legalization process in the state has moved quickly since the US Department of the Interior approved an updated gaming compact between the state’s Native American gaming tribes and the government just under two weeks ago.

Acting on the obvious momentum toward sports betting legalization, regulators in the state have zeroed in on September 9, Day 1 of the upcoming NFL season for Arizona’s legal sports betting launch. With the good news about an official jump-off date for the platform comes the realization that there is still a fair amount of work to be done before the ambitious September 9 date.

Building on Momentum

It was just April 15 that the seriousness of the Arizona legalization effort came into focus. On that date, Governor Doug Ducey signed a new tribal compact between the state and its Native American tribes which ultimately gave birth to the realization of a legal sports betting platform for Arizonans.

The US Department of the Interior had 45 days to approve the proposal but did so in less than one month, thus quickly and effectively modernizing the compact and including retail and mobile sports wagering as well a Daily Fantasy Sports provisions.

There was no shortage of support for legal sports betting in Arizona. Most lawmakers, tribal leaders and pro sports organizations which includes the Phoenix Coyotes, Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, PGA Tour and Phoenix Raceway signaled early on their intention to back such a platform… and there are a host of reasons why.

“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 Arizona’s Scene Will Look Like

With all of the regulatory hurdles out of the way, The Arizona Department of Gaming, which has been tabbed with regulatory duties in the state can concentrate on developing their legal sports betting industry to include 20 wagering provider licenses – 10 to professional sports organizations and 10 to the state’s tribes.

The expansion of the state’s gambling platform will also include the addition of Keno games and a host of other similar wagering opportunities to non-traditional wagering outlets. Social clubs, off-track betting facilities, the American Legion and Elks Clubs in the state have gained the right to host such wagering opportunities in their facilities.

Hopes are that September 9 will be the day that Arizona’s 7.3 million residents (the 14th largest population in the US) will have a long-overdue opportunity to place a legal sports wager. There is an expectation that activity will be robust prior to September 12, when the Arizona Cardinals kick off their NFL campaign.

It is estimated that the Arizona industry will bring in $154.4 million in annual taxable revenue to the state and that those funds will be directed to needy programs.

Work Isn’t Done Yet

A September 9 launch date doesn’t give Arizona regulators a ton of time to figure out the final details of their legal sports betting platform. The draft rules still have to be presented to the public and input will still have to be considered. That process begins June 14 and runs for a period of one week.

After the public consultation period, amendments to the legislation will be considered and possibly made before the final draft is created and eventually signed.

The application process for hopeful sportsbooks still has to take place as does the awarding of those licenses. Locations for Arizona’s retail sports betting sector still have to be revealed.

So, while most of the heavy lifting has been done ahead of Arizona’s legal sports betting launch, there is still work to do. But while it may seem like a huge mountain to climb, regulators are confident they will reach their summit ahead of the September 9 jumping-off point.