With less than two months remaining until the start of the NFL season, all Arizona eyes on the state’s sports betting industry.

Arizona sports bettors will want to note that Governor Doug Ducey signed HB 2772 into law in April of 2021. The signing of said legislation came on the heels of intense negotiations with The Arizona Indian Gaming Association (AIGA). At issue was Tribal involvement in the state’s sports betting industry.

After addressing Tribal concerns through a new compact, approval of said new compact was given by the U.S. Department of the Interior. That set the ball officially in motion as both the Indian Tribes and independent prospective sports betting licensees got to work.

The Details of HB 2772

Under the conditions set forth by the new law, the state will have no more than 20 sports betting licensees. 10 licenses will be allocated to the Indian Tribes with the other 10 licenses going to independent organizations. For the most part, independent organizations refer to the state’s pro sports franchises.

Since the Indian Tribes outnumber the available licenses, the AIGA will be responsible for allocating said licenses to its member Tribes. The licenses will cover retail sports betting through land-based casinos and mobile sports betting.

The list of pro sports organizations that will be involved in the Arizona sports betting community includes Phoenix Speedway (NASCAR), Phoenix Mercury (WNBA), Phoenix Suns (NBA), Arizona Coyotes (NHL), Arizona Cardinals (NFL), Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB), and TPC Sawgrass Golf Center (PGA). Other independent licensees are under consideration.

Note: Sports franchises will be permitted to open retail sportsbooks adjacent to their respective sports facilities. Sportsbooks will not be permitted inside these facilities.

For the right to secure a sports betting license, prospective licensees will have to pay a $750,000 application fee. After approval, they will need to pay an annual licensing fee of $150,000. The applicable tax rates on sports betting revenue will be 13.75% for retail revenue and 18% on revenue gained through mobile apps.

Enlisted Sports Betting Operators

With the NFL regular season fast approaching, licensees have been awaiting approval from the Arizona Department of Gaming. In the meantime, exclusive contracts have been signed between prospective licensees and some of the most prominent sports betting operators in the world. Here is a current list of exclusive contracts that have already been inked:
  • BetMGM with the Gila River Indian Community
  • DraftKings with TPC Sawgreaa
  • Caesars with the Arizona Dbacks
  • Fanduel with the Phoenix Suns
  • Bally’s Corp with the Phoenix Mercury
  • WynnBet with the San Carlos Apache Tribe

News of other signings should be forthcoming in the next week or two.

When Will Arizona Sports Bettors Start placing Legal Sports Bets?

As indicated above, everyone in the Arizona sports betting community is eyeing a start date that coincides with the start of the NFL season. That date is Thursday, September 9, 2021. That’s just in time for Arizona sports enthusiasts to be able to bet on the Arizona Cardinals when they face the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, September 12.

By all indications, the state’s sports betting licensees and operators will meet this deadline. As long as licenses get approved, the operators are well versed in sports betting operations in the U.S. They should have no problem getting betting apps up and running in time. For retail sports bettors, the wait might be a little longer. It will take operators time to create retail locations and hire employees to take bets.