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Two Weeks In, Arizona Sports Betting isn’t Slowing Down

Christopher Boan for Bookies.com

Christopher Boan  | 5 mins

Two Weeks In, Arizona Sports Betting isn’t Slowing Down

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The opening two weeks of Arizona sports betting have gone well, according to the Arizona Department of Gaming.

ADG Public Information Officer Maxwell Hartgraves told Bookies.com in an email that the department has been hard at work with operators, ensuring there is a seamless sports betting rollout in the state.

“The first two weeks of legal event wagering have gone well, and the department is still hard at work licensing and certifying the remaining licensees, so they are able to begin operations,” Hartgraves said in the email.

A total of 18 operators have received licenses from the Arizona Department of Gaming. Hartgraves added that the 10 licensees in the state that haven’t launched are in the process of submitting required information to the department. They will be approved on a rolling basis once the ADG receives what it needs to complete the licensing process.

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Those that haven’t gone live include Rush Street Interactive/ BetRivers, Bally’s, Golden Nugget, Fubo Sports, Unibet, Digital Gaming, Bet365 and Betfred.

The department PIO added that the two additional sportsbook licenses that have not been awarded will have their own application windows in the future, but that a timeline for that process has not been determined. The state’s gaming compact allocated a maximum of 20 licenses, with 18 being released initially, with 10 going to Arizona tribes and eight more to professional sports teams in the state.

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Launching and Thriving

BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel, Penn National Interactive/Barstool Sports, TwinSpires and WynnBET have launched. TwinSpires was the latest to join the market, going live on Sept. 15.

Arizona went live with sports betting on Sept. 9 for the start of NFL betting. Arizona sportsbooks and sports betting apps had a strong start on the first NFL weekend and that has continued.

According to geolocation security company, GeoComply, Arizona ranked fourth out of 18 states and the District of Columbia in sports betting transactions during its opening weekend of operation.

Several licensees have yet to announce partners, including the Tohono O’odham and Navajo Nation tribes and the Arizona Coyotes of the NHL.

Bookies.com attempted to reach the two tribes, but was not successful, while the Coyotes said that there are no updates regarding sports betting partners at this time.

Sportsbooks Thrilled With Start

Operators that have already launched, like DraftKings, have been blown away by the response in Arizona so far, with a spokesperson telling Bookies.com that the company has been thrilled with the response from customers in Arizona.

“In general, we are pleased with the way things have been going in Arizona,” the spokesperson said in an email to Bookies.com. “[Arizona] is a nice market for us with several professional sports teams and college teams and a good size population.”

A FanDuel spokesperson said in an email that "our performance in Arizona to date has far exceeded our expectations."

Seth Medvin, who serves as the director of public relations at WynnBET, said the Las Vegas-based sportsbook operator has seen strong demand from customers so far.

He pointed out a series of WynnBet promotions being offered — including its “Triple the Spread” promotion, which allows Arizona users to bet on the Green Bay Packers at +10.5 against the San Francisco 49ers — have seen a strong response from customers.

“We’ve seen a large number of our Arizona patrons taking advantage of our weekly promotions, specifically the Kyler Murray any type of TD promo last week,” Medvin told Bookies.com.

Arizona’s Strong Start is No Fluke

Arizona’s rollout process has exceeded the expectations of industry veterans, such as DraftKings Director of Race & Sportsbook Operations Johnny Avello, who described the rollout as a smashing success.

“I can tell you that the handle was well over expectations,” Avello said. “And we were honestly surprised by how well it went. As far as the smoothness of the bets, that’s not a surprise to me, and we’ve been doing this for quite some time, opening new states.

“But the user experience was terrific, and Arizona bettors came out, both on Saturday and Sunday, and bet on football in pretty huge numbers.”

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Avello has no doubts that Arizona’s sports betting market will continue to thrive, even as more operators enter the marketplace.

A large part of that belief stems from the pent-up demand in the state, with customers no longer having to make the 300-mile trek north to Las Vegas to wager on sporting events. /p>

“Being from Vegas, I know that people from Arizona like to bet sports. They used to come to my facility all the time,” Avello said. “I got to know a lot of them personally. So, I knew it was a vibrant market.

“They just needed the state to open up and they are open now and get to enjoy [sports betting] like everybody else.”

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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.