Arizona Gaming Department Releases Final Betting Rules Proposal

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The Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) released Wednesday its final draft of proposed sports betting rules to meet a scheduled Sept. 9 launch date. However, the proposed rules will be finalized in the ADG’s virtual meeting this Friday.

There will be a public meeting for comments on the Arizona sports betting rules, and the written comment period will stay open through Friday night.

Following a public comment session last week, ADG Director Ted Vogt said, “We look forward to wrapping this up very soon and pushing the rules out and getting moving on the remaining process.”

He added that the ADG will go ahead once it has these rules in a final format, and come up with a more solid time frame that it will release publicly.

What’s Expected on Friday and Beyond?

An open public comment session – scheduled between 1-2:30 p.m. EDT – will take feedback, besides other issues, on the updated license allocation language and the timeline for event wagering.

After the session, the department plans to file the proposed final draft of rules to the Arizona Secretary of State’s office on Monday, with a view to begin the application process. The initial application notification for operators can begin on Aug. 13.

The ADG will then notify potential applicants within five days of an initial application notification, which means Aug. 8, if things remain on track.

Then a 10-day window will open to accept the applications. In case, there are more applications than the available licenses, the department will have eight days (plus the first five days) to finalize which applications to be approved.

What If More Applicants Qualify Than Available Licenses?

The law prescribes 20 licenses, 10 for the state’s professional sports teams and venues, and the other 10 for the state’s gaming tribes.

If after the end of the application period, ADG decides there are more qualified applicants for a particular type of license than the available ones, the department will reevaluate all qualified applicants under ADG’s listed criteria.

Any potential applicant must be an event wagering operator and employees must submit to background checks.

If more than 10 Arizona professional sports teams or tribes qualify for a license, the department shall allocate the licenses, ensuring an equal opportunity for all qualified entities after meeting 19 specific steps.

In case more than 10 limited event wagering operators qualify for Arizona sports betting licenses, the ADG shall allocate the licenses, ensuring an equal opportunity for each qualified applicant after meeting 15 specific steps.

If one or more previously allocated licenses become available, the department will open an application period and follow procedures accordingly.

How Have We Reached Here?

Gov. Doug Ducey signed Arizona sports betting legislation into law in April. The ADG has been working on the draft rules since to ensure the state bettors can place legal bets on this NFL Season.

An initial set of draft rules was released in June, which was updated following a comment period, including an 8% tax rate on retail bets, 10% on mobile bets, and an $850,000 initial license fee.

Last week, the department released another set of sports betting rules, particularly centered around license allocation.

The previous ADG public comment meetings have been brief, with the first round of comments mainly focusing on the number of skins, license fees, tax rate, and license allocation.

The second round of rules surprised many when it said licensees can have one sports betting system, but up to two platforms. Until then, most stakeholders had been expecting one skin per license.

Meanwhile, the commercial operators are busy striking deals that could land them in Arizona sports betting as soon as it launches. Most recently, the Australian-based PointsBet and Barstool Sportsbook have become the latest operators to announce market access deals for Arizona sports betting.

Other companies – FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars, Bally’s, WynnBET, and Kindred Group – have already struck deals with potential candidates that can win Arizona sports betting licenses.

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