BetMGM Granted Sports Betting License in Arizona

MGM Resorts Picture
BetMGM revealed on Friday that it was one of the sports betting operators granted an “event wagering license” in the state of Arizona.

The New Jersey-based gambling operator previously partnered with the Arizona Cardinals and the Gila River Casinos to gain access to the Arizona market. With its approval, BetMGM registering customers for online and mobile sports betting on August 28th and then will be able to accept bets on September 9th, when the industry goes live.

Said BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt in a statement:

“It is an exciting day here at BetMGM to get the official sign off to launch on day one of sports betting in Arizona. Through our partnerships with Gila River and the Arizona Cardinals, as well as the benefits of being connected to MGM Resorts properties nationwide, we have many exciting things in store for sports fans in Arizona.”

20 Total Sports Betting Licenses

At first, there was a lot of uncertainty as to whether the sports betting bill would be passed in Arizona. However, when things got started, it got together rather quickly. Last April 12th, the Arizona Senate passed HB 2772 by a 23-6 margin. Three days later, Gov. Doug Ducey put pen to paper to legalize mobile sports betting and retail sports wagering in the Grand Canyon State.

Although the launch is still on September 9th, sports betting companies have already positioned themselves in the market by making partnerships with sports betting teams, casinos, and even college football bowl games.

A total of 20 sports betting licenses will be handed out in Arizona, with 10 allotted to professional sports teams and the remaining 10 to be given to the Native American Tribes who own casinos in the state. The initial licenses were doled out this week with Penn National Gaming and FanDuel the first two companies to announce their approval as Arizona sports betting operators.

Arizona Sports Betting Law

To recap, Arizona sports betting will be governed by the Arizona Department of Gaming and they are tasked with creating the rules and regulations that will encompass the industry. Online wagers will be taxed at 10% of revenues while retail sports bets will be levied an 8% tax.

The Arizona sports betting law allows betting on collegiate sports, including Arizona colleges. However, betting on individual performances in college sports is not permitted. Conversely, bettors can make wagers on season performance and awards like the Heisman Trophy.

Sports Wagering license applications were priced at $100,000. Upon approval, sports betting operators will be required to pay an initial of $750,000 for an “event wagering license” and an annual renewal fee of $150,000. Limited operator licenses such as those in race tracks would cost much lower, at an application fee of $5,000, initial license fee of $25,000, and an annual renewal of $5,000.

FanDuel, Penn National Gaming Announce Approved Sports Betting License in Arizona

Arizona State Flag and an Arizona Casino

Industry sources have revealed that FanDuel and Penn National Gaming have both received event gaming licenses from the Arizona Department of Gaming last week. Both gambling companies were licensed as designees while their partner sports franchise/organizations were licensed as operators.

FanDuel was the first sports betting company to partner with a pro sports team in Arizona when they cut a deal with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns last fall. Arizona intends to launch legal sports betting on September 9th when the NFL’s 2021 season opens. However, FanDuel and Penn National can begin marketing campaigns and customer sign-ups on Saturday.

FanDuel previously said it plans to launch online sports betting as soon as possible and then build a retain sportsbook at the Suns’ Footprint Center. Meanwhile, Penn National Gaming is also expected to launch the Barstool Sports App first before building a sports betting shop at the Phoenix Raceway.

A Total of 10 Sports Betting License Applications Received

The Arizona Department of Gaming previously said it received a total of 10 sports betting license applications including one which they announced as rejected last week.

The ADG has not officially named the applicants, although there have been a total of six gambling entities which have aligned themselves with a partner Arizona sports team/organization in recent months.

FanDuel and Penn Gaming are two of the six, pairing with the Suns and Phoenix Raceway, respectively. Meanwhile, the Arizona Cardinals teamed up with BetMGM while the Arizona Diamondbacks entered into a deal with Caesars Entertainment. Bally’s is a sports betting partner of the he WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and DraftKings paired with the golf’s TPC Scottsdale.

The Coyotes Don’t Have a Sports Betting Partner Yet

With Arizona’s six professional sports teams and organizations already tied up with a sports betting partner, only the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes have not named their official sports betting partner to date.

The franchise is still on the hunt for a new home after the city of Glendale said last Thursday that it won’t renew the team’s lease past the 2020-21 NHL season. One day later, the Coyotes sent a notice to their season ticket holders that they intend to stay in the metro Phoenix area.

Arizona’s sports betting law allows up to 20 retail sports betting licenses. 10 of the licenses will be allotted to the state’s professional teams and organizations while the other 10 are to be given to the Northern American tribes. In a recent announcement, the ADG said that it received a total of 16 applications from the tribes and that they are in the process of evaluating and selecting the 10 approved applicants.

FanDuel, Caesars Sportsbook to Launch Phoenix Sports Betting Shops on September 9th

Phoenix AZ

FanDuel’s retail sportsbook at the Footprints Center, the home of the Phoenix Suns and Mercury, will commence sports betting operations on September 9th.

A second retail betting shop at the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field operated by Caesars Sportsbook is also getting ready for the September 9th launch,

FanDuel Looking to Get a Jump on the Market

With the state setting September 9th or the opening day of the 2021 NFL season as the launch date of legal Arizona sports betting, FanDuel looks to get a jump on the market. Right now, the sports betting company is scrambling to finish construction and licensing before the kick off date.

Stretching over 6,300 square feet, the luxury betting shop will have a full-service ticket window and several self-service kiosks to take bets on a daily basis. Phoenix fans in the Footprint Center will also be allowed to place bets using mobile devices on game days inside the arena.

Betting Via Kiosks

While FanDuel’s sportsbook at Footprint Center will be ready on September 9th, Caesars Sportsbook at Chase Field will operate via free-standing betting kiosks operated by the gambling company. With the MLB regular season ending on October 3rd, Caesars will get their full-function retail sportsbook ready by early 2022.

The site of the Caesars sportsbook will be the former Game 7 Grill on the Plaza just outside Chase Field. During the MLB offseason, Caesars will transform that venue into a 20,000 square foot retail betting shop with a bar, restaurant, numerous TVs broadcasting games, and tons of betting options.

Unclear How Many Retail Betting Shops

Sports betting was legalized in Arizona earlier this year and the Department of Gambling has just finished accepting applications from pro sports teams and Native American tribes that plan to engage in legal sports betting. According to the department, they received 10 applications from pro sports teams and 15 applications from the tribes.

It’s unclear how many sports betting companies will operate retail betting shops on the September 11th launch date. However, punters will have multiple mobile betting options to choose from with the other sportsbooks planning to launch their digital apps on the NFL’s opening day.

Arizona Cardinals, BetMGM to Build Retail Sportsbook Inside NFL Arena

Arizona State Flag With a Casino Background

The Arizona Cardinals became the first NFL team to announce plans to build a retail sportsbook inside their home stadium.

The plan to build the brick and mortar sportsbook at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona is part of the agreement between the Cardinals and BetMGM, which was announced last Monday.

The partnership is the first for BetMGM in the state as it plans to build its industry-leading sports betting platform to the Grand Canyon State.

Three Other Retail Sportsbooks in Arizona

BetMGM is set to enter the Arizona sports betting scene, which is expected to launch at the start of the 2021 NFL season, through its partnership with the Gila River Indian Community which operates the Gila Hotels & Casinos.

Aside from the State Farm Stadium, BetMGM also plans to build retail sportsbooks at Lone Butte, Vee Quiva, and Wild Horse Pass casinos which are owned by Gila River Indian Community.

The sportsbooks at the three casinos will feature a custom-built BetMGM Sportsbook and is expected to open before the start of the current NFL season. Meanwhile, the sportsbook at the State Farm Stadium is targeting to open in time for the start of the 2022 NFL season.

Sports Betting at Pro Sports Venues

Arizona, Illinois, and the District of Colombia are among the places where sports betting is allowed to take place inside professional sports venues.

In Arizona, the Phoenix Suns announced earlier this year that they would be building a retail sportsbook at the Phoenix Suns Arena though a partnership with FanDuel.

Last year, William Hill opened the first sportsbook inside a U.S. sports stadium at the Capital One Arena, home of the Washington Wizards, Washington Mystics, and Washington Capitals. Most recently, the Chicago Cubs got approval to build a DraftKings sportsbook and bar at Wrigley Field.

NFL Continues to Pivot Towards Sports Betting

The retail sportsbook at the Cardinals home stadium is the latest move for the NFL as it continues to pivot toward the booming sports betting industry.

The league had long opposed legal sports betting, even taking to court and fighting for six years the state of New Jersey for trying to bring legal sports betting outside Nevada.

But since the U.S. Supreme Court took down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018, the sports betting industry has grown exponentially in the United States. To date, a total of 29 states and the District of Columbia have passed their legislation to legalize sports betting.

Cliff Castle Casino Partners With PointsBet for Entry in Arizona Sports Betting Industry

Arizona State Flag and an Arizona Casino

Arizona’s Cliff Casino Hotel has entered into a partnership with online gaming operator PointsBet for entry in the state’s newly legalized sports betting industry.

Under the deal, the two parties will work to seek a license to operate online sports betting in Arizona’s newly regulated market.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed the Arizona sports betting bill into a law in April, paving the way for up to 20 sportsbooks to operate in the state with professional sports teams and tribal casinos eligible to apply for a license. So far, six partnerships have been formed in an industry that is expected to launch on September 9th to coincide with the start of the NFL season. Now AZ has its 7th player in Cliff Castle Casino and Points Bet.

Said Aaron Moss, general manager of Cliff Castle Casino:

“Cliff Castle Casino Hotel and PointsBet are excited to partner and initiate our process of offering event wagering in the state of Arizona. PointsBet’s experience and reputation have made them a perfect fit in pursuit of an event wagering license. This partnership allows for Cliff Castle to work alongside PointsBet’s truly first-class brand and product, which we are thrilled to ultimately help make available to the Arizona market.”

10-Year Market Access Deal

According to reports, the agreements is for a 10-year market access deal to legal Arizona sports betting. Under the deal, PointsBet will pay a fixed fee of $850,000 as initial license fee. The Arizona sports betting bill also calls for an 8% tax rate on retail wagers and 10% of net gaming revenue online sports bets.

PointsBet will also help fund a branded sportsbook inside the Cliff Castle Casino Hotel which will be operated by the Yavapai-Apache nation. The online gaming operators has also agreed to make an annual donation to a public interest fund designated by the Yavapi Apache Nation that benefits the youth of the tribe.

The Arizona market represents the 16th state in which the fast-growing online sports betting operator has presence in. PointsBet also plans to utilize its partnership with NBC sports to help promote the brand in their latest market.

Exclusive Sports Betting Partner of NBC

As the exclusive sports betting partner of NBC, PointsBet will make use of the network’s TV and digital assets to help promote the PointsBet brand in the new market.

As part of their agreement, NBC Sports will provide PointsBet with a year-round multi-platform media and marketing opportunities across its portfolio of sporting events, including exclusive gameday integrations across NBC’s regional sports networks.

With a full Spanish language functionality, PointsBet will also be able to reach Hispanic sports fans via Telemundo Deportes and Telemundo broadcast stations.

Arizona Department of Gaming Working to Meet Fall Launch of Sports Betting

Arizona State Seal With a Casino Hotel Background
Arizona sports betting became legal last April, when Gov. Doug Ducey signed HB 2772 into a law. But it won’t be operational until the Arizona Department of Gaming can formulate and finalize the rules and regulations governing Arizona sports betting.

With state leaders wanting to launch Arizona sports betting by the time the NFL’s 2021 season starts, the Department of Gaming is working double-time in formulating the rules.

Said Max Hartgraves, public information officer of the Arizona Department of Gaming:

“We do need to set up a whole new regulatory structure and develop these rules. So, we are on a pretty tight timetable. Luckily, we do have that emergency clause, so we’re able to kind of expedite that rule-making process. But, just putting that whole regulatory structure in place, because this form of gaming has never been legal in the state.”

20 Licenses Have Been Issued

So far, a total of 20 Arizona sports betting licenses have been issued. 10 of these were given to Arizona tribal casinos while the other 10 were awarded to Arizona professional sports teams. Positioning has been quick with sports betting companies partnering with different sports teams in recent months.

The Arizona Diamondbacks of the MLB have partnered with Caesars Entertainment to build a retail sportsbook in the plaza adjacent to Chase Field and will launch their mobile sports betting app. The NBA’s Phoenix Suns will team up with FanDuel to bring a sportsbook to the Phoenix Suns Arena. Meanwhile, golf’s TPC Scottsdale has paired with DraftKings for the establishment of a sportsbook at its facility.

Approval by Bureau of Indian Affairs

Last month, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs gave the final nod for the legalization of Arizona sports betting by approving the amended tribal state gaming agreement between Gov. Ducey and the state’s tribal leaders. The tribes fought to protect their exclusive rights to most gambling in Arizona and they got that under the new agreement.

Aside from operating Arizona sports betting, the new law allows the tribal casinos to expand their gaming offerings by adding games such as baccarat and craps. They were also permitted to increase the number of slot machines while maintaining their existing offers for poker and blackjack.

Federal Government Approves Legal Arizona Sports Betting

Arizona State Flag and an Arizona Casino

The United States Department of the Interior approved on Monday an updated tribal gaming compact agreed upon last month by Gov. Doug Ducey and the state’s tribal leaders, paving way for the legalization of Arizona sports betting and online fantasy sports betting.

Said Gov. Ducey in a statement:

“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. 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. The tribal-state gaming compact and its associated legislation now is officially in effect — thank you to everyone who worked to make this happen!”

Legal Gambling on Professional Sports

The approval of the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs was the last step in the legalization of Arizona sports betting. Professional teams will need to acquire state-issued licenses and set up their sports wagering operations. Backers of legal Arizona sports betting hope that everything will be ready in time for the start of the 2021 NFL season.

Under the deal, major professional sports groups will be able to offer legal Arizona sports betting on professional sports leagues like the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL. Online fantasy sports operators like DraftKings and FanDuel can “piggyback” on the approved licenses.

The deal also allows the tribes to expand their casino gambling options by adding games like craps and baccarat or increasing the number of slot machines in their properties.

Partnerships Have Started

Since the Governor and the tribes signed the new agreement, partnerships between sports organizations and sports betting companies have started. Earlier this month, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Caesars Entertainment announced a partnership to build a retail sportsbook in the plaza adjacent to Chase Field.

The NBA’s Phoenix Suns have also announced that the organization will partner with FanDuel to bring legal Arizona sportsbetting to the Phoenix Suns Arena via a retail sportsbook. The Suns say that the 6,300 square foot sportsbook is expected to be ready for the 2021-22 NBA season.

Likewise, the TPC Scottsdale which is the home of the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament, revealed that it will be partnering with DraftKings to construct a sportsbook at the facility. TPC Scottsdale describe the project as a “19th hole experience” where fans can place bets all-year round.

Sports Betting Proposal Advances in Arizona House Panel

Arizona State Flag and an Arizona Casino
An Arizona House panel advanced a proposal that would permit legal betting on professional and collegiate sports at tribal casinos and venues owned by professional sports teams after hearing from the tribes and teams that back the deal that Gov Doug Ducey made with the tribes.

The proposal, authored by Rep. Jeff Weninger, would allow professional sports teams and tribes with existing casinos to conduct legal Arizona sports betting operations. It would also allow fantasy sports betting from online operators, new sports betting at horse racing tracks and selling of Keno tickets by groups like the VFW.

8% of the non-tribal legal Arizona sports betting profits will go to the state’s general fund while taxes from a maximum of 8% on tribal gaming revenues will go to the local governments and special state accounts. It is estimated that legal Arizona sports betting could bring in as much as $42M per year in additional state revenue.

Backed by Arizona Pro Sports Teams

Representatives for Arizona’s professional sports teams are backing the measure. Under Weninger’s proposal, teams like the Arizona Diamondbacks would be allowed to have sportsbooks inside and near their venues. Weninger’s initiative is also backed up by the major tribes in Arizona as it would allow them to add more table games while also operate sports betting facilities.

According to Arizona Diamondbacks representative Amilyn Pierce, teams in areas with legal sports betting bring in extra revenues that hurt the competitiveness of Arizona’s pro sports teams. Pierce said without legal Arizona sports betting, the state’s sports teams are at a disadvantage in a competitive market.

Small Businesses Are Being Left Out

Associations representing bars aren’t too thrilled with the proposal. Arizona’s bars, which were hit very hard by the pandemic, are complaining that they are being left out new opportunities, including new Keno games and fantasy sports betting. They argue that big operators will get more revenues from legal Arizona sports betting while bars are either closed or operating at limited capacity.

Democratic Rep. Diego Espinoza and eight other house members agree. Although the group voted for Weninger’s bill, they said that they want to see the bars and restaurants included in the measure, and that they may not back the bill in the full House if these small business are omitted.