Arizona stakeholders on Monday called for a single online skin per sports betting license, requesting the authority to make rules more transparent.
On Monday, the Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) held the second of its two meetings to review draft sports betting regulations. The first meeting was held last Friday in a series of regulatory attempts seeking to launch Arizona sports betting by Sept. 9 as planned.
The ADG Director Ted told stakeholders that the immediate goal is to have a revised set of rules available for review by the end of this week. The final rules are expected to be approved by the first half of July.
However, a second public comment period will follow after the final rules are put in place.
The number of skins is the most critical subject under debate for now. Other important issues are license fees, tax rate, and license allocation.
Law is Vague Regarding Number of Skins
Arizona sports betting – legalized in April – allocates 10 event wagering licenses for the state’s tribal casinos and 10 for professional sports franchises. There are 22 gaming tribes and six professional sports entities in the Grand Canyon State.
Most stakeholders back one skin per operator, but the law is vague as the word “platform” is not defined in the text. The legislation does not define what a platform is or how many platforms an event wagering operator is entitled to.
ADG has yet to clear the ambiguity if it will allow one skin per license or more. For now, the general perception is that Arizona sports betting will have one skin.
The ADG will also have to determine how it will distribute 10 licenses for the gaming tribes.
In addition, there are also 10 licenses for “limited event wagering operators” for racetracks and OTBs. Those entities must partner with one of the 20 event wagering operators.
Most Prefer One Skin Per License
Most of the stakeholders appear to be happy with the one-skin-per-license theory. Representatives from Arizona Coyotes, Diamondbacks, and FanDuel said they are contented with the language for a single mobile skin.
However, PGA Tour VP and Assistant General Counsel David Miller and NASCAR Managing Director of Sports Betting Joe Solosky asked for further clarification regarding the language if it contains single skin.
FanDuel Director of Government Affairs Andrew Winchell called for minor adjustments to the language to allow for various technology systems to accepts retail and digital bets.
Multiple stakeholders called for commercially viable terms for official league data use. For instance, Sportradar’s Head of Government Affairs US Brandt Iden suggested the regulator review Michigan sports betting language for guidance. Iden is also a former member of the Michigan House of Representatives.
But There Was A Dissenting Voice
Matt Olin was the only dissenting voice in both meetings. The CEO of Apache Gaming Enterprises said their “position is that the legislation is pretty clear in that it provides for more than one platform per license.”
San Carlos Apache Tribe owns and operates the Apache Gold Casino and will have a share of Arizona sports betting through a partnership.
DraftKings will operate a retail casino and mobile platform through its partnership with TPC Scottsdale via a deal with the PGA Tour. FanDuel has a sports betting deal with the Phoenix Suns, while Caesars has a market access agreement with the Diamondbacks. Penn National Gaming and WynnBET have associations with NASCAR.
The ADG accepted written comments on June 21, with Vogt saying there will another “brief” public comment period after the rules are updated possibly by the next week.
The proposed license fees and tax rates will be included in the next draft, Vogt said.
How Have We Reached Here?
Arizona was a surprise entry among legalized sports betting states after Gov. Doug Ducey spoke in favor of the industry in his State of the State address in January. The state lawmakers wasted no time and passed HB 2772 April 12, which Ducey signed along with a tribal gaming compact three days later.
Even the federal authorities wrapped up the process – which otherwise takes months – when it approved the tribal compact May 24.
The emergency clause attached to the bill enabled the ADG to layout an expedited timeline on April 21. In early June, the gaming department announced Sept. 9, as the launch date for Arizona sports betting.