Eight mobile and retail sportsbook operators have launched sports betting operations in Arizona, now that TwinSpires Arizona went live Thursday.
TwinSpires, owned by Churchill Downs Inc. and based in Louisville, Kentucky, is partnered with the Tonto Apache Tribe and its Mazatzal Hotel and Casino in the Arizona sports betting market. The operator will have a retail sportsbook within the Payson-based hotel and casino and a mobile sportsbook that’s accessible throughout Arizona. The Tonto Apache is the first tribe to launch sports betting in Arizona.
For TwinSpires, Arizona is the seventh state where its sports betting brand is available. The company is also live in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Indiana, Mississippi and Michigan. New Jersey will be next.
"Over the last several years, we have worked diligently to secure our sports wagering license and today marks a significant milestone for Tonto Apache," Tonto Apache Chairman Calvin Johnson said in a news release. "In conjunction with our world class partner, we look forward to offering a dynamic sportsbook, supporting the local community and bringing more visitors and sports fans to the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino.
"This opportunity will also present great opportunities and economic benefits for our people."
When Will Others Launch in Arizona?
Of the 18 operators that have received licensure in the Grand Canyon state, 10 have not launched operations yet.
Fubo Sportsbook, which is partnered with the Ak-Chin Indian Community, told BetArizona.com on Wednesday that its plan is to launch in Arizona during the fourth quarter of 2021, though a specific launch date has not been determined.
A representative from Bally’s Sportsbook, which partnered with WNBA stalwart the Phoenix Mercury, said the company plans on launching in Arizona in early 2022.
A spokesperson from Golden Nugget, which partnered with the Hualapai Tribe, declined comment on the company’s rollout blueprint in Arizona.
A representative from SuperBook Sports, which is partnered with the Fort Mohave Indian Tribe, told BetArizona.com that the company is currently working on a release date but that they have no comment on a specific rollout date currently.
Other operators that received licensure in Arizona but did not respond to BetArizona.com’s request for comment include Rush Street Interactive/BetRivers (partnered with the Arizona Rattlers), Digital Gaming (partnered with the San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe) and Betfred (partnered with the Ft. McDowell Yavapai Nation).
It’s possible that two additional operators could be licensed in Arizona, as 20 licenses are permitted and 18 have been given out.
Any future partnerships would have to be made with a professional sports team in Arizona, however, as the 10 tribal licenses have been awarded already, compared to eight of 10 for sports teams.
Sports Betting Thriving in Arizona
Sportsbooks in the Arizona marketplace have seen incredible demand so far, according to geofencing company, GeoComply.
GeoComply said Arizona was fourth out of 18 states and the District of Columbia in terms of sports betting transactions during the opening weekend of the NFL, with 6.1 million in total.
The state was just behind New Jersey (12.5 million), Pennsylvania (11.5 million) and Michigan (7.5 million) in terms of total transactions.
“Preparing for this NFL season has been a process that began before the end of last season, and we expected high volumes, but what we have seen has surprised us nonetheless,” GeoComply Managing Director of Gaming Lindsay Slader said in a company news release this week. “The level of demand across new markets, such as Arizona, indicates that consumers have long waited for the option to legally place a sports bet.
“The data tells a remarkable story about the growth of the industry in a short period of time. This success is a credit to all our clients and state regulators, who have worked tirelessly to prepare for the start of the new NFL season.”