State Farm Stadium in Glendale will be the first NFL stadium to have a sportsbook as BetMGM has announced its sports betting partners for the Arizona market. According to a news release provided by BetMGM on Monday, the sportsbook has partnered with Gila Rivers Hotels & Casinos and the Arizona Cardinals for retail and mobile sports betting.

State Farm Stadium is the home of the Cardinals.

BetMGM – the digital arm of MGM Resorts International – became the first major sportsbook operator with multiple partners in the Copper State.

The most-anticipated deal was announced on the final day for potential operators to submit event wagering applications to the Arizona Department of Gaming.

BetMGM’s partnership with the two entities is the 10th sports betting agreement in the state, and fifth between a sportsbook and a tribe – Gila River Indian Community.

Arizona sports betting is scheduled to launch on Sept. 9, the opening day of the NFL season.

Only Sportsbook That Partners Sports Team and Tribe

BetMGM is the only operator to partner with both a professional sports team and a tribe simultaneously. The New Jersey-based operator may open at least four retail books – one each at Gila River’s three casino properties and one at the State Farm Stadium.

Soon, BetMGM can have its fifth sports betting location as the partnering tribe is planning a new casino.

If BetMGM and its partners secure event wagering licenses, the sportsbook could have two online platforms, giving it an obvious advantage over competitors.

The three-way partnership also ensures that BetMGM will have statewide mobile access, and on at least one reservation.

Global Market Advisors’ Brendan Bussmann said Arizona proves to be an interesting market with its tribal and team licenses, which he said would help maximize the market opportunity.

BetMGM to Kickstart Through Gila

According to the release, BetMGM is planning to open its Gila River Resorts sportsbook around the fall launch of the 2021 NFL season. The book at State Farm Stadium will open by the 2022 season.

BetMGM becomes the 10 operators to secure market access in the Copper State. FanDuel was the first when it had announced a partnership with the Phoenix Suns in 2020.

The only major professional sports team currently without a sports betting partner is the NHL Coyotes. So far, five tribes – including the Gila River Indian Community – have announced deals for Arizona sports betting.

Professional Sports Teams

  • FanDuel and NBA Suns
  • DraftKings and PGA/TPC Scottsdale
  • Caesars and MLB Diamondbacks
  • Bally’s and WNBA Mercury
  • Barstool Sportsbook and NASCAR/Phoenix Raceway
  • BetMGM and NFL Cardinals

Tribes

  • WynnBET and San Carlos Apache Tribe
  • TwinSpires and Tonto Apache Tribe
  • PointsBet and Yavapai-Apache Nation
  • Kindred (Unibet) and Fort Yuma Quechan Indian Tribe
  • BetMGM and Gila River Indian Community

How Have We Reached Here?

Gov. Doug Ducey signed Arizona sports betting into law this April, establishing 20 mobile and retail licenses. That includes 10 for the Copper State’s professional sports team and venues, and the remaining 10 for the gaming tribes in Arizona. Under the amended compact with the state’s tribes, they can have retail books at each tribal casino in the state.

Since early June, the ADG had been focusing on the Sept. 9 launch date. On July 26, the department finalized sports betting rules and began accepting licensing applications the same day.

The application period closed Monday – the day BetMGM announced its unique sports betting deal.

The ADG plans to announce qualified applications Aug. 16.

The deal between BetMGM and Gila River was likely, but the addition of the Cardinals appears a recent phenomenon.

In case there are more than 20 qualified applicants for Arizona sports betting licenses, the department will evaluate applicants and award the licenses Aug. 27.

In either case, Arizona sports betting appears to be a reality by Sept. 9.

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