The Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) has allocated 18 of 20 sports-betting licenses available in the state, seeing 10 tribes and eight sports organizations receiving approval to launch wagering operations.
The list was announced Friday, August 27, in anticipation to sports betting going live beginning September 9. State law establishes a maximum of 10 tribes and 10 sports teams/organizations to request licensing, meaning two sports teams/organizations licenses have not been allocated.
A total of 16 qualified tribal applications and eight qualified sports team/organization applications during the event wagering operator application process were received, the ADG says.
“During the rulemaking process for event wagering, the Department made it a priority to gather as much public and stakeholder comment as possible, particularly on aspects such as license allocation,” said Ted Vogt, Department of Gaming Director.
"The allocation decision we are announcing today is a direct result of these efforts, helping to ensure the impartiality and fairness of the process for all applicants,” added Vogt.
The Arizona Department of Gaming completed today its evaluation period to allocate the ten available tribal event wagering operator licenses. Additionally, fantasy sports will go-live in the state at 12:01 AM tomorrow, 8/28. Learn more: https://t.co/e8YgDjQaKP— Arizona Department of Gaming (@AzGaming) August 27, 2021
The allocated licenses are as follows:
1. Fort Mojave Indian Tribe (SuperBook Sports)
2. Navajo Nation
3. Quechan Tribe (Unibet Arizona)
4. Tonto Apache Tribe (Churchill Downs)
5. Tohono O’odham Nation
6. Hualapai Tribe (Golden Nugget)
7. Ak-Chin Indian Community
8. San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe (Digital Gaming)
9. San Carlos Apache Tribe (Wynn)
10. Ft. McDowell Yavapai Nation
1. Arizona Cardinals (BetMGM)
2. Arizona Diamondbacks (William Hill-Caesars)
3. Phoenix Suns (FanDuel)
4. Arizona Coyotes
5. Phoenix Mercury (Ballys)
6. TPC Scottsdale (DraftKings)
7. Phoenix Speedway (Penn National)
8. Arizona Rattlers (Rush Street Interactive)
Throughout the decision process, the Department took into account criteria including the business ability and record to sustain event wagering operations; the gaming experience and track record; and possible contributions to the community.
As of August 28, the licensed event wagering operators can start marketing and signing up patrons online as well as on mobile applications. Fantasy sports contests are also live as of August 28, with Arizonans able to legally sign-up and start wagering on these games. DraftKings, FanDuel, FFPC, Yahoo, Fantasy Sports Shark, and Underdog Sports, are the currently licensed fantasy sports operators in the state.
“Partnership, as well as the hard work of Department staff, has allowed Arizona to be one of the fastest states to operationally start these new games since passing of the enabling legislation,” further commented ADG's head.
Out of the Indian Tribe partnerships resulting from the application process, some of the most notable ones include Fort Mojave Indian Tribe partnering with SuperBook Sports; the San Carlos Apache Tribe, partnered with Las Vegas-based WynnBET; the Hualapai Tribe, partnering with Golden Nugget; and the Fort Yuma Quechan, partnering with Kindred/Unibet.
On the other hand, sports entities that applied will see partnerships between the WNBA’s Mercury and Bally’s; the NFL’s Cardinals and BetMGM, and the MLB’s Diamondbacks with Caesars Sportsbooks, among others.
Should sports betting launch in time, it would do so in time for the beginning of the 2021 NFL season, slated for September 9, same date wagering goes live.
“This is a tremendously exciting day for the entire Ak-Chin Indian Community,” said Ak-Chin Chairman Robert Miguel. “With this sports betting license and our strategic partnership with Fubo Sports, we know we’ll be able to offer our customers the kind of premier entertainment experience they’ve come to expect from Ak-Chin.”
While the Ak-Chin Indian Community, in partnership with Fubo Gaming, was selected to hold a license, other communities and third party operators didn’t have the same luck.
Australian operator PointsBet, which applied in partnership with Cliff Castle Casino Hotel, part of the Yavapai-Apache Nation, expressed disappointment at not being awarded a licence, with the ADG not providing “any further information as to why Cliff Castle was not selected.”
Other Australia-based firm, BlueBet Holdings and its subsidiary BlueBet Arizona, which partnered with Colorado River Indian Tribes, was also unsuccessful in its application for an online sports betting license in the state despite meeting requirements. However, the company announced its USA entry strategy remains unchanged, with a license in process in the state of Iowa in partnership with Q Casino.