The NFL is entering a completely new era, as are all sports leagues around the world. Despite their intrinsic connection, sports and sports betting have been forced to maintain their distance for decades, but not anymore. Sports leagues and teams are constantly partnering with sportsbooks in the new sports betting paradigm, and the Arizona Cardinals have helped raise the bar. It has become the first NFL team to be behind a sportsbook.
The Arizona Cardinals, BetMGM and Gila River Trio
The Cardinals, their home a state that only recently approved sports betting, are teaming up with BetMGM and Gila River Hotels & Casinos in a three-way deal that will see the launch of physical and online BetMGM-produced sportsbooks across Arizona. Three will be located at casinos on Gila River tribal property, and the tribe also has plans for a fourth casino, which would also house a BetMGM sportsbook. The fourth will be located at the Cardinals’ home field, State Farm Stadium.
It’s not rare for casinos to offer sportsbooks in the US, but it is extremely rare for sports betting action to be found at stadiums. Still, the Cardinals are trendsetters and are helping change the way sports fans view sports betting. Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill said in a press release, “This is a tremendous opportunity to build upon our long-standing relationship with Gila River and launch a new one with BetMGM. They are best-in-class partners whose excellence and expertise in this emerging space will provide a new and innovative way to engage and interact with our fans.”
Arizona Sports Bettors Counting Down
Arizona sports bettors will be able to place wagers on NFL games at Gila River’s three casinos for the current season. However, they’ll have to wait for the new State Farm Stadium book, as it likely won’t be ready until next season. All tribes in the state can have on-reservation sportsbooks automatically and are authorized to apply for sports betting licenses for off-reservation alternatives. Those approved are expected to be announced within a week and, after that, they will be able to start marketing their products and signing up customers as of August 28. That gives them enough time to prepare to receive the first wagers on September 9, the day the NFL regular season begins.
Arizona is going to have a lot of interest in its sports betting market, especially because lawmakers there were smart enough to offer broad legislation. WynnBET, PointsBet, TwinSpires and others have already announced their plans to get involved. With sportsbooks possible at sports stadiums and arenas, the state could eventually have one of the more productive markets in the US. The state’s population is only slightly less (about one million under) than that of New Jersey and over twice that of Nevada, which some analysts believe will lead to over $3 billion in annual wagers.
Pro US Teams, Leagues Embrace Sportsbooks
The Cardinals may be the first NFL team to connect with a sportsbook to score a touchdown, but it isn’t the first sports team to do so. The Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA, the Phoenix Suns of the NBA and the Arizona Diamondbacks of MLB have already partnered with sports betting operators ahead of the state’s launch. The PGA Tour is involved, as well, as it has teamed up with DraftKings for a sportsbook at TPC Scottsdale.
The legalization of sports betting and all of these new agreements in Arizona have been achieved in just the past couple of months. That shows that it doesn’t take years for decisions to be made when individuals become proactive and spend their time intelligently.