Arizona Department of Gaming will issue additional licenses for sports betting

A few free slots

The Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) has announced that it is accepting applications for at least two additional sports betting licenses. The application window is open from February 16th to March 4th.

According to the ADG press release On Tuesday, a license will go to an Arizona tribe and “no less than one” license will go to a professional sports franchise.

On September 9, 2021, legal sports betting went live in the state and was an immediate success; In the first four months, $1.75 billion was bet in Arizona. State law allows up to 20 sports betting licenses, ten for tribal and ten for professional sports franchises (sports franchises in this case include both teams and venues, such as Phoenix Speedway). There are currently 16 online operators in Arizona, made up of an equal number of teams and professional sports franchises.

The list of operators and their partners is as follows (courtesy of ADVERTISEMENT):

Unibet (Quechan Tribe)
WynnBet (San Carlos Apache Tribe)
BetMGM (Arizona Cardinals)
DraftKings (TPC Scottsdale)
Fanduel (Phoenix Suns)
ESPN Bet (Phoenix Speedway)
Caesars (Ariz. Diamondbacks)
RSI/BetRivers (Arizona Rattlers)
Superbook (Fort Mojave Indian Tribe)
SaharaBets (Arizona Coyotes)
Betfred (Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation)
Golden Nugget (Hualapai Tribe)
Hard Rock Digital (Navajo Nation)
BetWay (San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe)
Desert Diamond Mobile LLC (Tohono O'odham Nation)
Bally's (Phoenix Mercury)

Will Fanatics make a push?

All ten tribal licenses were originally awarded when sports betting was introduced in Arizona, but today there are only nine. The ninth belongs to Bet365, which works with the Ak-Chin Indian Community – looking at the list above, Bet365 is obviously yet to be launched.

That leaves one tribal license and two professional sports licenses left. The ADG clearly wants to award one of these to a professional team and is open to issuing the two remaining professional team licenses.

One would think that Fanatics would throw its hat in the ring since it is the only major betting operator not operating in Arizona. The company acquired PointsBet's US operations in May 2023 for $150 million with the express aim of gaining a foothold in the American market.

PointsBet actually received a license in 2021 through a partnership with the Yavapai-Apache Nation and Cliff Castle Casino, but that was terminated. The ADG cited an “administrative error” by an employee who had no knowledge of the licensing decisions and therefore issued the license in error.

At the time, PointsBet, despite being both disappointed and concerned, said it would not give up trying to get a license in Arizona. Of course, PointsBet is no longer in the game, but it would be surprising if Fanatics didn't give it a try.

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