Arizona is working quickly to introduce its new sports betting market to the world, with everything expected to be in place by the first games of the new NFL season. That doesn’t give much time, as September 9 will see the first kickoff. However, the state doesn’t have to worry about filling the number of open licenses to be issued. 20 spots are available and, since the state began accepting applications, 25 operators have thrown their names into the hat. Someone is obviously going to be disappointed.
Interest High for Arizona Sports Betting
According to the Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG), it has received 25 applications for the 20 licenses that are to be issued. Ten of the spots are earmarked for pro sports franchises and the other ten will go to state tribes. The ADG added that it had received ten applications for the sports franchise licenses and another 15 for the tribal options. It stopped short, however, of naming names, although it’s already known that the Arizona Cardinals and other sports teams are interested.
In an effort to allow the new sportsbooks to take advantage of the power of football, the ADG will announce who qualified for a license by next Monday, August 16, with the final recipients to be announced within ten days from then. Those entities who already have significant experience with sports betting and who have a state presence will be given priority for the sports franchise licenses. For the tribes, the ADG will issue the licenses with “preference that they be distributed among non-gaming tribes, rural gaming tribes, and to tribes located relatively near metropolitan areas in the State.” Given the history of sports gaming license allocation in the US so far, it’s very likely that at least one rejection will lead to a lawsuit.
Arizona Sports Betting To Start Strong
With all pro sports teams looking to get in on the action, Arizona’s sports betting market is going to get off to a very strong start. FanDuel, which is partnered with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, has no doubt it will be awarded a license and is already working to put the final touches on a sportsbook at the team’s home stadium, Footprint Center. That venue is expected to be open as of the first day of the NFL’s regular season and, according to the operator, is now “70% to 80% completed.” FanDuel is also going to have kiosks available at Chase Field, home of MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks, with the first bets to be placed as of September 9, as well.
FanDuel, and the rest of the operators when they get into place, will have a lot of action coming their way. According to a survey conducted by BetArizona.com, interest is high among bettors in the state to jump at the chance to place legal wagers. The survey found that 17% of state residents are already betting on sports, through offshore sites or in other states, and 22% of residents will place a bet once legal sports betting goes live. That equates to around 1.6 million people will be hitting the books in just about three weeks from now.