There’s less than a month remaining until the start of legalized Arizona sports betting, and several major players are still on the market.
There are 20 sports wagering licenses available in Arizona, once sports betting starts on Sept. 9, with 10 going to sports teams and pro sports facilities and 10 to Indian tribes. The state Department of Gaming is currently reviewing applicants before the launch date that coincides with the start of the 2021 NFL season.
In addition, the PGA Tour/TPC Scottsdale signed a sportsbook deal with DraftKings AZ, while NASCAR/Phoenix International Raceway inked a partnership with Barstool earlier this summer.
That leaves two professional sports teams in the Valley, the Arizona Coyotes and Phoenix Rising, without Arizona sportsbooks partners.
Coyotes Executive Vice President of Communications and Broadcasting Rich Nairn told Bet Arizona this week that the club has no sportsbook partnerships in place and no updates regarding future pacts.
The Phoenix Rising, which plays on the United Soccer League Championship level, said it has a partner but has not identified the operator.
“Phoenix Rising FC deeply appreciates the Arizona Legislature and Governor Ducey for including soccer fans in their vision for sports betting in the state," said Phoenix Rising FC Governor Berke Bakay. "As Arizona’s highest-level professional soccer team, Phoenix Rising FC has submitted its application to the Arizona Department of Gaming for an Event Wagering Operator’s License in partnership with a market-leading, best-in-class online sports betting operator. The club is excited to offer Arizona’s diverse soccer fans an opportunity to participate in this new form of entertainment.”
The Rising used to have its stadium at the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community on the outskirts of Tempe. It currently plays its home games on the Gila River Indian Community’s Wild Horse Pass facility.
There will be a lot of interest in legal wagering when the Arizona market goes live, according to a recent survey of Arizona residents commissioned by BetArizona.com.
Other AZ Partnerships
Aside from professional sports team partnerships, a host of sportsbook deals have been announced in Arizona, between various operators and tribes in the state.
A total of six tribes in Arizona have inked deals with sportsbook operators so far, including the Gila River Community’s deal with BetMGM AZ and the Arizona Cardinals .
That leaves four openings in the state, with some of the state’s largest Native American communities — including the Tohono O’odham Nation near Tucson, as well as the Navajo Nation and Salt River Pima-Maricopa Community still uncommitted.
Here’s a list of the communities that have inked sportsbook deals to date:
- PointsBet Sportsbook and Cliff Castle Casino Hotel/Yavapai-Apache Nation;
- WynnBet Sportsbook and Apache Gold and Sky casinos/San Carlos Apache;
- William Hill/Caesars and Harrah’s AK-Chin Casino;
- TwinSpires and Mazatal Hotel & Casino/Tonto Apache Tribe;
- BlueBet and the Colorado River Indian Tribes.
There are 24 Class III Native American-owned casinos in Arizona, split among 16 tribes, meaning plenty of contenders are still on the market.
Key players still on the market include the Pascua Yaqui Tribe near Tucson, which owns Casino of the Sun and Casino del Sol Resort; the Yavapai Prescott Indian Tribe, which owns Yavapai and Bucky’s casinos and the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, which owns We-Ko-Pa Resort & Conference Center.
Other tribal facilities that remain unsigned so far are the Cocopah Casino Resort & Conference Center (Cocopah Tribe); the Paradise Casino (Fort Yuma-Quechan Tribe); the Spirit Mountain Casino (Fort Mohave Indian Tribe) and the Hon-Dah Resort Casino and Conference Center (White Mountain Apache Tribe).
Six tribes in Arizona do not have casinos but lease out their slot machine rights to other tribes with facilities of their own.