Save the Date: Arizona Targets September 9 for Legal Sports Betting Launch

  • The Arizona Department of Gaming hopes to have sportsbooks live for the start of the NFL season
  • The rules and regulations for the sports betting sector will be publicly available on June 14
  • Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed legislation and a new tribal gaming compact on April 15
  • Some sportsbook operators have already signed deals with Arizona sports organizations
Save the date note written on a paper notepad
Arizona is on track to have sportsbooks go live in time for the start of the 2021 NFL season this September. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A clearer timeline

The Arizona Department of Gaming has announced a target launch date of September 9 for the state’s legal sports betting market. This means that the rollout would be in time for the beginning of the 2021 National Football League (NFL) season.

The opening NFL game takes place on September 9. The first Arizona Cardinals fixture is not until September 12, when they play the Tennessee Titans.

rollout would be in time for the beginning of the 2021 National Football League (NFL) season

The department also revealed on Wednesday that the sector’s rules and regulations will become publicly available on June 14 for inspection and comment. The public comment period will last for one week.

Lawmakers in Arizona and other states have been striving toward having sportsbooks up and running in time for the start of the NFL games. The betting handle for the NFL season is one of the most lucrative for US sportsbooks each year.

Quick off the mark

Arizona has been very quick at developing a framework for legal sports betting. After Wednesday’s announcement about the planned target launch date, it appears that the authorities have not run into any hitches.

Governor Doug Ducey signed the legalization bill and the new tribal gaming compact on April 15. The Department of Gaming was then able to begin working on the regulatory framework for retail and online sports betting straight away. The US Department of the Interior also quickly approved the new tribal compact, which became part of the Federal Register on May 24.

20 sports betting licenses will be up for grabs

A total of 20 sports betting licenses will be up for grabs in the state. Half of them will go to tribal casinos, while the other ten are available to professional sports organizations in Arizona. Professional sports teams will be able to open retail sportsbooks at their facilities.

Operators positioning themselves

Some operators have acted fast and already entered partnerships with local sports organizations to get market access in Arizona. DraftKings is now an official partner of TPC Scottsdale, the golf course that is the host of the annual Waste Management Phoenix Open on the PGA Tour. FanDuel has teamed up with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, while Caesars Entertainment has an agreement in place with the MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks.

A legislative fiscal note previously estimated that a legal sports betting market for Arizona could lead to over $154m in taxable revenue each year when the market matures.

As well as legalizing sports betting, daily fantasy sports offerings are also now allowable, with no limit on the issuance of daily fantasy sports licenses. Tribes can also start offering new types of casino games, including craps and baccarat, as part of their new compacts.