Arizona Receives More Sports Betting Applications Than Licenses

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Arizona regulators announced Wednesday it received more sports betting license applications than it can award under the new law earlier this year.

The Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) received 25 event wagering operator license applications. The state’s law allows only 20 licenses, including 10 licenses to professional sports franchises and the remaining half to tribes.

The ADG said it received 10 applications from professional sports teams/franchises and 15 from the state’s gaming tribes. But the department did not tell who applied.

The application window – which remained open for two weeks – closed Monday, two days before the ADG announced it is overflowing with licenses.

The department will announce by Aug. 16 which applicants are qualified for licenses. By Aug. 26, the agency may determine which qualified candidates will eventually secure licenses.

So far, things seem to be on track for a Sept. 9 launch.

How ADG Will Determine the Exceeding Number of Applicants?

Last month, the ADG explained how it would allocate licenses in case there were more applications than available licenses. According to those guidelines for selection, having a presence in the state, previous experience, speed to market, and the ability to contribute to the state (beyond paying taxes) would be treated on a preferential basis.

For tribes, the regulatory agency will give priority if they are distributed among non-gaming tribes, rural gaming tribes, and tribes situated relatively closer to metropolitan areas in the state.

How Many Stakeholders Have Announced Their Moves?

In total, eight Arizona tribes have announced partners, with Gila River Casinos being one of the latest to announce a three-way partnership with BetMGM on Aug. 9, the final day of the application window.

BetMGM has also struck a partnership with Arizona Cardinals, becoming the only operator to strike a deal with a tribe and a professional sports team.

Monday also saw Australian-based BlueBet forging an alliance with the Blue Water Resort and Casino.

On Wednesday, BetFred announced a partnership with the Fort McDowell Yavapi Nation.

The other tribe-operator partnerships include – Fort Yuma Quechan Tribe (Kindred/Unibet), Tonto-Apache Tribe (TwinSpires), Yavapi-Apache Nation (PointsBet), and San Carlos Apache Tribe (WynnBET).

When coming to commercial licenses, all of the professional franchises – excluding NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes – have announced partnerships.

In addition to the three major professional leagues – as well as WNBA, NASCAR, and the PGA – there are six professional entities that have struck deals.

  1. FanDuel and NBA Suns
  2. DraftKings and PGA/TPC Scottsdale
  3. BetMGM and NFL Cardinals
  4. Caesars and MLB Diamondbacks
  5. Barstool Sportsbook and NASCAR/Phoenix Raceway
  6. Bally’s and WNBA Mercury

What’re Coyotes Thinking?

According to sources, the Coyotes intend to seek a license without a prior deal. They may later associate with platform providers such as Kambi or Scientific Games. However, the branding would reportedly exclusively be the hockey team’s.

The Copper State does not have a Major League Soccer team. But during stakeholder meetings, the USL’s Phoenix Rising said it’s interested in a license.

Though most of the heavyweights have struck deals, partnership arrangements do not guarantee the licenses. Only the ADG can decide it following a specified procedure.

As many as 16 tribes operate 24 casinos in Arizona.

Why Is Everyone Rushing to Arizona?

Since Gov. Dough Ducey signed the sports betting bill into law in mid-April, potential operators have been rushing to partner with sports organizations and tribes.

Arizona is projected to be a flourishing sports betting market with an increasing population. For instance, Phoenix – the capital city of the state – is home to most pro sports leagues.

The city, which regularly hosts major events, will have the Super Bowl in 2023.

There are no daily fantasy sports (DFS) in Arizona, which was included during this year’s legislation. DFS will go live on Aug. 28.

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