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Big Day Nears As Arizona Prepares For Sports Betting Launch

Christopher Boan for Bookies.com

Christopher Boan  | 4 mins

Big Day Nears As Arizona Prepares For Sports Betting Launch

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After fending off a lawsuit from the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe, Arizona sports betting appears set to launch Thursday. The tribe could still file an appeal.

Arizona sportsbooks - many handing out sportsbook promo codes - are scheduled to go live just after midnight on Thursday, giving bettors plenty of time for betting on the NFL before the season kicks off that night. The defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers play host to the Dallas Cowboys.

The Arizona Cardinals play at the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. The latest NFL Week 1 odds have the Cardinals as 3-point underdogs to the Titans.

All the top sports betting sites wanted in the market and bettors could eventually have 18 mobile and retail sportsbook operators to choose from in Arizona. There are also six daily fantasy sports operators, which launched in the state on Aug. 28.

The compact between the state and most tribes survived a legal challenge filed by the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe earlier this week, which unsuccessfully sought to have the law ruled unconstitutional in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Judge James Smith grounded his decision to deny the tribe’s request in the fact that they did not offer substantive evidence that the new compact would cause undue harm to the tribe going forward.

“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 order 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.”

How We Got Here

The state of Arizona paved the way for legalized sports betting, both retail and on betting apps, when the state’s legislature introduced and subsequently passed House Bill 2772 in April.

The legislation - which was sponsored by Reps. Jeff Weninger, Alma Hernandez, Ben Toma, Shawnna Bolick, Daniel Hernandez, Sonny Borrelli, Cesar Chavez, Jennifer Jermaine, Thomas Shope, David Cook and Becky Nutt - cleared the state House, 48-12 and the Senate, 23-6.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed the bill into law on April 15, legalizing sports betting, as well as daily fantasy sports and Keno games.

The bill also paved the way for Arizona’s professional sports teams to get in on the action, giving 10 sportsbook licenses to teams and 10 to state-based tribes and their partners.

“This represents the most significant changes in almost two decades, a truly historic event,” Ducey said of the bill in April. “This compact amendment and associated legislation continue and builds on the success that the tribal-state partnership has provided for decades. We can call this a win-win-win for the tribes, the state and the taxpayers.”

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Who Received Licenses: Pro Teams

Eight professional sports teams/venues from the Phoenix area received sportsbook licenses:

  • FanDuel (partnered with the Phoenix Suns);
  • BetMGM (partnered with Arizona Cardinals and Gila River Community);
  • DraftKings (partnered with TPC Scottsdale);
  • Penn National Gaming/Barstool Sports (partnered with Phoenix International Raceway);
  • Caesars (partnered with Arizona Diamondbacks);
  • Bally Bet (partnered with Phoenix Mercury);
  • Rush Street Interactive/BetRivers (partnered with Arizona Rattlers);
  • Arizona Coyotes (TBA).

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Who Received Licenses: Tribes

Ten Arizona tribes wound up receiving sports betting operator’s licenses:

  • Fort Mojave Indian Tribe (SuperBook Sports);
  • Navajo Nation (TBA);
  • Quechan Tribe (Unibet);
  • Tonto Apache Tribe (Churchill Downs/ TwinSpires);
  • Tohono O’odham Nation (TBA);
  • Hualapai Tribe (Golden Nugget);
  • AK-Chin Indian Community (Fubo Gaming);
  • San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe (Digital Gaming);
  • San Carlos Apache Tribe (WynnBET);
  • Ft. McDowell Yavapai Nation (Betfred).

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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.