Daily Fantasy Sports Touching Down in Arizona on Saturday via Approved Operators

  • The ADG confirmed that approved DFS operators can go live at 12:01am on August 28
  • Authorized mobile sports betting operators can also open up account creation and funding
  • Only Penn and FanDuel have announced receipt of their Arizona event wagering licenses
  • Questions to the ADG revealed that many sportsbook operators are still in the approval process
  • Caesars is planning to open retail betting kiosks at Arizona’s Chase Field in September
Arizona welcome road sign
Daily fantasy sports is coming to Arizona after a state regulatory body confirmed that approved operators can go live on August 28. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Full weekend of DFS action

Daily fantasy sports (DFS) fans in Arizona can look forward to a full weekend of action after the Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) confirmed that approved DFS operators can soon go live.

At its second event wagering and fantasy sports operations meeting on August 25, the state’s regulatory body gave the nod for approved DFS operators to roll out operations starting 12:01am on August 28.

The ADG shared a video recording of its Wednesday meeting on its YouTube channel:

At the meeting, the ADG also revealed that it had already approved allocations for “several” DFS operators. The Arizona agency, however, stressed that to be up and running early Saturday, operators need to have both internal controls and house rules green-lighted by 4pm on August 27.

Approved mobile sports betting operators can also open up account creation and funding, and start marketing themselves following receipt of an ADG allocation notice, which the regulator said “should be” on August 27.

Sportsbooks jockeying for position

Just 20 event wagering operator licenses are available in Arizona. These will be divvied up evenly between professional sports entities and casino tribes.

15 applications from tribal gaming operators

On August 10, the ADG revealed it had received 15 applications from tribal gaming operators. If, however, over ten tribes qualify, the body must decide by August 27 on which of those parties will receive the licenses, which are strictly limited to ten.

The snag — according to Brendan Bussmann, director of government affairs at the Las Vegas-based management consulting firm Global Market Advisors — is that unsuccessful tribes might end up suing Arizona. The move could delay the slated September 9 launch of legal sports betting.

To date, just two sports betting operators, Penn National Gaming and FanDuel, have officially announced receipt of their Arizona event wagering licenses. FanDuel has partnered with the Phoenix Suns, while Penn National Gaming’s pro sports partner, via Barstool Sports, is Phoenix Raceway. According to a company spokesperson, FanDuel has received approval not just for event wagering, but also DFS.

FanDuel plans to launch Saturday and already has a dedicated Arizona account sign-up page live online. The sports wagering giant must be feeling pretty smug on capturing critical early market share ahead of key rival DraftKings, which has still to announce its approval for event wagering or DFS in Arizona.

Operators still with questions

A key insight from the ADG’s Wednesday meeting was the volume and variety of questions it was fielding from multiple major operators. The questions, including one from DraftKings’ compliance manager Katie Burke, revealed that many operators are still in the approval process.

On the sports betting approvals side of business, the ADG repeatedly stressed that operators should make sure that the licenses of their suppliers are in order or risk delaying approval to go live.

While the majority of operators have intimated that they will launch mobile ahead of retail betting in the state, Caesars – via its Arizona Diamondbacks partnership – went on record as saying it will roll out some type of in-person wagering on, or close to, September 9. Caesars is reportedly planning kiosks at the Diamondback’s home stadium Chase Field for September.