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Arizona Sports Betting is Thriving One Month After Launching

Christopher Boan for Bookies.com

Christopher Boan  | 6 mins

Arizona Sports Betting is Thriving One Month After Launching

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It’s been one month since Arizona sports betting launched, transforming the way residents in the state interact with their favorite pastimes.

The Arizona market launched on Sept. 9 for NFL betting. The rollout process has gone off without a hitch for the most part, with nine of the 18 operators that received licenses in Arizona being live. The operators that have launched in Arizona say they are happy with the early results.

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NFL betting has already been a success for Arizona sportsbooks and sports betting apps, with the state having the fourth-most wagers placed in September, according to geolocation security company GeoComply, which issued a report. It has helped that the Arizona Cardinals are off to a 4-0 start, the only undefeated team in the NFL.

A lawsuit filed by the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe is still hanging around, with the tribe having re-filed the complaint as requested by a Maricopa County Superior Court judge. The next steps in the suit that aims to halt sports betting are uncertain.

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Who’s Launched in Arizona?

The list of operators that have launched in Arizona include BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel, Penn National Interactive/Barstool Sports, TwinSpires, Unibet Sportsbook and WynnBET.

Those that have been licensed but have not launched yet include include Rush Street Interactive/BetRivers, Bally’s, Golden Nugget, Fubo Sports, Digital Gaming, Bet365 and Betfred.

A total of 20 licenses were made available in the state, split evenly among Arizona professional sports teams and tribes. The Arizona Department of Gaming has not decided when it will allocate the final two licenses, or if the department will allocate those licenses in the immediate future.

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Who’s Next to Launch?

It appears that the next operator to launch in Arizona will be Fubo Sportsbook, which told Bookies.com that it plans on launching during the fourth quarter of 2021.

A representative from the company did not disclose a specific launch date but said Fubo Sportsbook looks forward to launching in Arizona.

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The plan for Bally’s Sportsbook, which is partnered with WNBA stalwart, the Phoenix Mercury, is to launch in early 2022, according to a company spokesperson.

Representatives from Golden Nugget and PointsBet declined to comment on when they plan on entering the Arizona marketplace.

Representatives from Digital Gaming, Bet365, Rush Street Interactive/BetRivers, Betfred and MaximBet did not respond to request for comment from Bookies.com

Sports Betting Operators Thrilled with Arizona’s Launch

There has been no shortage of compliments issued by operators toward the response from customers in the state.

Jason Scott, who is BetMGM’s, vice president of trading, said the company is thrilled with the way Arizonans have responded to the operator’s offers.

“Arizona has been a huge success for BetMGM. We are seeing numbers comparable with our opening in Michigan in January, which is remarkable as Michigan had the advantage of iGaming as well as sports betting,” Scott said in an email sent to Bookies.com.

Other sportsbooks, including DraftKings, FanDuel and WynnBET, have also said they are pleased with how things have gone in Arizona.

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Arizona NFL Betting an Early Success Story

Arizona’s sports betting market has ranked near the top of the charts when it comes to NFL betting transactions during the 2021 regular season.

That’s the takeaway from GeoComply, which said the Grand Canyon State ranked fourth out of 18 states and the District of Columbia in NFL transactions during September.

Arizona’s 36.9 million NFL transactions trailed only New Jersey (70.5 million), Pennsylvania (64.6 million) and Michigan (44.3 million) during the month, the company said in a press release.

The NFL betting transactions in Arizona accounted for 11.2% of the volume tracked by the company, trailing New Jersey (21.4%), Pennsylvania (19.5%) and Michigan (13.4%).

"We’re excited to see the growth of sports betting from the first NFL weekend has carried over to the first four weeks of the season,” Lindsay Slader, managing director of gaming at GeoComply, said in the release. “The data also confirms the first week in Arizona was not just a one-off, but that the state has solidified its place as the fourth largest sports betting market in the U.S. With more states poised to come online in the coming weeks and months, we expect growth will continue to accelerate through 2021 and 2022.”

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A major boon for NFL betting in Arizona has been the strong start by the Cardinals, who are looking to start a season 5-0 for the first time since 1974 on Sunday.

The Cardinals currently have the seventh-best title odds at BetMGM (+1400), while WynnBET (+1400), TwinSpires (+1500), Caesars (+1600), DraftKings (+1600) and FanDuel (+1600) have Arizona eighth overall in that category.

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Status of Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe’s Lawsuit

One cloud that has continued to hang over the opening month of sports betting in Arizona has been a legal challenge filed by the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe of northern Arizona.

The tribe’s initial lawsuit was rejected by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge James Smith on Labor Day, with Smith ruling that the tribe’s lawsuit lacked merit.

”The Tribe did not show that H.B. 2772 likely violates the Tribe’s rights regarding event wagering as compared to Sports Franchise Owners,” Smith’s ruling reads. “The Tribe did not show that public policy favors its requested injunctive relief. IT IS ORDERED denying the Tribe’s Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and a Preliminary Injunction.”

The tribe’s argument centers around the fact that Arizona House Bill 2772, which legalized sports betting on and off tribal lands, is unconstitutional. They say the 2021 gaming compact was in violation of Proposition 202, which legalized gaming activity on tribal land in Arizona.

The Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe’s amended complaint, which was filed on Sept. 27, has not been heard in court and there are no future court dates for the complaint, according to a court public information officer.

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About the Author

Christopher Boan for Bookies.com
Christopher Boan
Christopher Boan has covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, with stops at ArizonaSports.com, Tucson Weekly and Green Valley News.
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