AZ Sports Betting Should Be Operational for NFL Season Opener

New licenses for sports betting operators should be issued by the start of the first game of the 2021 National Football League (NFL) season in September, gambling regulators in the state announced Wednesday.

20 Sports Betting Licenses

The announcement of the launch date for the regulatory framework followed the decision of the US Department of the Interior (DOI) to approve the amended state compacts Gov. Doug Ducey signed with the tribes in April as part of the new gambling regulation.

The amended state compacts preserved the exclusive rights of Arizona Indian tribes granted to them by voters in 2002, while allowing them to offer sports betting at their casinos, increase the number of slot machines and offer new table games such as baccarat and craps at their gaming venues. The number of tribal sports betting licenses will be limited to 10, while daily fantasy sport will allow unlimited number of licensed operators.

According to the provisions of the law, major sport franchises such as the Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Coyotes and Phoenix Suns, as well as pro golfing and NASCAR events, can apply for a sports betting license within a quota of 10 such licenses.

Several of the franchises already partnered with sports betting operators to operate retails sportsbooks on their properties: the Phoenix Suns teamed with fantasy and sports betting brand FanDuel to develop a retail sportsbook in the arena for the 2021-22 NBA season, DraftKings has an agreement in place with The PGA Tour to run a sportsbook at TPC Scottsdale, the place of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, while the Arizona Diamondbacks are planning for a Caesars Entertainment-run sportsbook in the plaza next to Chase Field.

One-Week Public Comment Period Prior to Launch

According to the announcement from the Department of Gaming, draft rules for sports betting and fantasy sports are expected to be in place by June 14, when they will face a one week period of public comments, while the first bets should materialize September 9, when defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the Dallas Cowboys in the 2021 NFL season opener. Arizona sport fans will have to wait a little longer to bet on the Cardinals which visit the Tennessee Titans 3 days later.

Bettors will have the ability to place bets on mobile devices with no need to physically visit a casino to register or bet as sports betting locations will serve as marketing for the operations.

Revenue projections from sports betting range from an optimistic $100 million per year proclaimed by backers of the legislation to the more realistic figure of $34 million annually derived by budget analysts at the state legislature, who also warn the figure is speculative.