August 12, 2021
In less than one months time, Arizona will become the latest state in the union to allow its residents to place wagers online on sports.
On September 9th sportsbooks should launch throughout the state, online, in apps, and even inside the Arizona Cardinals, State Farm Stadium. Unsurprisingly, the very next day, September 10th is the Thursday night kickoff to the NFL season. Three days after that, the Cardinals open their season on the road in Tennessee. It seems the state smartly wants to position itself in a place to take advantage of the large draw that the NFL season has to sports betting.
The Grand Canyon state’s path to sports gambling legalization started slow, but quickly gained speed and moved at a rapid pace over the past few months. After years of unpassed bills and legislation, HB2772 was approved by the Arizona House of Representatives on March 4th 2021, with a vote of 48-12. The bill had a big boost from Governor Doug Doucey who back in January called for sports betting to help bring in more revenue and revitalize the state.
Next month, on April 12th the bill gained approval by the Arizona Senate when it passed on a 23-6 vote. Only three days later Governor Doucey signed HB2772 into law which allowed for daily fantasy sports, keno, and sports betting.
The next few months saw rules being developed, tax rates, licensing allocation, and licensing fee structures being figured out. Finally on July 26th Arizona officially set its sports betting rules and opened an application period of two weeks. Currently there are 25 applicants for sports gambling licenses in the state. 15 of these are tribal, and 10 are from sports organizations. The Arizona Department of gaming has said that they will be notifying qualified applicants on August 16th.
As mentioned previously, one sportsbook will be operated by BetMGM and located within the Cardinals State Farm Stadium. FanDuel will have its sportsbook within the Phoenix Suns downtown Footprint Center, Caesar Sportsbook will operate in Chase Field, where the Diamondbacks play, and DraftKinds Sportsbooks will be at TPC Scottsdale, the golf course which hosts the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open. So far only the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes are the only pro franchise in the state to not announce a partnership with a sportsbook.
When the Cardinals open their season with the BetMGM Sportsbook inside, it will be the first NFL team to have a sportsbook inside its stadium. Surely though, it will not be the last.
Arizona residents will be able to place wagers virtually anywhere in the state due to options for sports betting both online, and through mobile apps. The only exceptions to this will be when someone is present on tribal land, or at a brick and mortar sportsbook, whether in a casino or sports stadium. Although multiple physical sportsbooks may not be open come Sept. 9, it’s likely Arizona will have multiple online sportsbooks to choose from.
We’re eagerly awaiting September for more reasons than just the kickoff of football season as it seems like Arizona is primed to become the most progressive, and perhaps an example of a state with legal sports betting.