18 Arizona Sportsbooks Approved, Will Launch Online Betting Sept. 9 for NFL Season
Joe Sohm/Getty Images. Pictured: Arizona state flag.
- Arizona is about to launch online sports betting, and the Grand Canyon State isn't easing into things. Eighteen total sportsbooks have been approved for licenses, and doors will be open for business September 9, the start of the 2021-22 NFL season.
- Almost all of the big names received licenses, including DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, WynnBET, PointsBet, Caesars and more. Most of those, if not all, will launch on Day 1 in a few weeks.
- Daily fantasy sports is also now live, as is pre-registration for online sports betting. Operators are allowing users to sign up ahead of the Sept. 9 launch date and are enticing users with free bets and promotions.
The aforementioned trio, the nation’s three largest operators by national market share, are targeting similar success in Arizona, one of the nation’s most anticipated new sports betting markets. Other major brands such as Caesars, Bally Bet and PointsBet have also made Arizona a major focal point of their nationwide expansion plans.
Sportsbooks approved by the Arizona Department of Gaming can start taking bets Sept. 9, the first day of the 2021 NFL regular season. Lawsuits are pending that will seek to delay the opening, but it remains to be seen what impact it will have on legal sports betting’s launch.
Assuming no further legal or logistical delays, the following books can begin promotions in the state and player sign-ups at 12:01 am local time Saturday (retail partner in paratheses):
- Bally Bet (WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury)
- Barstool Sportsbook (Phoenix Raceway; NASCAR Championship race host track)
- Betfred (Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation)
- BetMGM (NFL’s Arizona Cardinals and State Farm Stadium)
- BetRivers (Indoor Football’s Arizona Rattlers)
- Betway (San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe)
- Caesars (MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks and Chase Field; Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino)
- Desert Diamond Mobile (The Tohono O’odham Nation)
- DraftKings (TPC Scottsdale; PGA Tour’s Phoenix Open host course)
- FanDuel (NBA’s Phoenix Suns- and Footprint Center)
- Fubo Gaming (Ak-Chin Indian Community)
- Golden Nugget (Hualapai Tribe)
- SuperBook (Fort Mojave Indian Tribe)
- TwinSpires (Tonto Apache Tribe’s Mazatzal Casino)
- Unibet (Fort Yuma Quechan Tribe’s Quechan Casino)
- WynnBet (San Carlos Apache Nation’s Apache Gold Casino Resort
The NHL’s Arizona Coyotes as well as the Navajo Nation also earned licenses but have not announced their sportsbook operating partner.
Arizona Sports Betting Background
Arizona, Wyoming and South Dakota are all expected to take their respective first legal sports bet in early September. They will join 21 other states and Washington D.C. among a growing list of states with legal sports betting options.
Unlike Wyoming (online only) and South Dakota (retail only), Arizona will allow both statewide mobile and retail sportsbooks. Arizona is the nation’s first state to divide licenses evenly between professional sports organizations and federally recognized gaming tribes.
There were 19 eligible tribes for the 10 allocated tribal licenses, 16 of which applied for licensure.
Additional tribal operating partners including BlueBet (Colorado River Indian Tribes) and MaximBet (White Mountain Apache Tribe) also missed out on licenses.
All 19 tribes signed onto an updated 2021 gaming compact can open retail sportsbooks at their respective gaming properties, regardless their online license status.
Along with the 10 tribes, Arizona’s 2021 sports betting legislation permitted up to 10 sportsbooks partnered with professional sports teams. There are two remaining pro sports licenses available, which could be awarded to a future MLS team or other sports franchises or organizations that begin play or relocate to the state.
The opening date for retail sportsbooks is Sept. 9, but some licese holders may not open on that date or only have temporary locations. Many tribal casinos have already prepared sportsbook “lounges” or betting areas at their respective casinos and some will likely start taking retail bets on or shortly after the go-live date.
The professional sports team partners are also planning books at their respective venues but there is no firm timeline. MGM believes its BetMGM book at State Farm Stadium will come sometime in the coming months.
Other partners, such as FanDuel at Footprint Center and Caesars at Chase Field are looking to open their full retail books before their affiliated teams begin their upcoming seasons. Caesars plans a temporary book launch in September.
Additionally, Barstool and the Phoenix Raceway are hoping to open before the NASCAR Championship race in November, while DraftKings and TPC Scottsdale are targeting a lunch before next year’s Phoenix Open.
Most if not all the online sports betting licensees will likely begin marketing heavily on Saturday and leading through the launch day. These operators will also seek to go live on the Sept. 9 date and ahead of the 2021 NFL season opener between the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Arizona Cardinals open their season Sept. 12 at the Tennessee Titans.
Arizona’s comparatively quick turnaround from sports betting legalization to first bet will allow operators to capture the entire NFL season, perennially American sportsbooks’ most lucrative time of the year. Other states that passed 2021 sports betting legislation including Connecticut, Louisiana and Maryland will miss at least a portion of this year’s football season.
That access to football bettors reaffirms operators’ excitement for the potential market in one of the nation’s fastest-growing states and largest metro areas. Unlike in neighboring Nevada, eligible bettors over age 21 and physically within Arizona state lines can bet from a mobile device without having to register in-person before place a bet.