Australian gaming company BlueBet announced Tuesday that it has reached an agreement with the Colorado River Indian Tribes and BlueWater Resort & Casino in Arizona for access to the Arizona sports betting market that is expected to launch on Sept. 9.
The company said it has submitted a license application and is expected to hear before the sports betting market that will expand when Arizona sportsbook apps go live.
There are 20 sports wagering licenses available in Arizona, 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 NFL 2021 season.
The news comes a day after BetMGM AZ announced a deal with the Gila River Indian Community and the NFL Arizona Cardinals that will bring sportsbooks to three Gila River casinos and to State Farm Stadium, home to the Cardinals.
BlueBet first gained U.S. market access in Iowa in a deal with the Dubuque Racing Association, which operates Q Casino, that was announced in July. At the time, BlueBet said it is has applied in Virginia and is awaiting approval. It also is targeting the Colorado, Tennessee and Maryland sports betting markets.
In July, BlueBet began trading on the Australian Stock Exchange after an $80 million IPO.
“We’re very excited to be announcing this agreement within two months of BlueBet’s IPO. We see Arizona as a fantastic next step for BlueBet in the U.S.,“ BlueBet chief executive officer Bill Richmond said in the news release.
Another Australian gaming company, PointsBet, has capitalized on the growing U.S. market. PointsBet AZ has an agreement with the Cliff Castle Casino Hotel and the Yavapai-Apache Nation. It was announced July 20.
Arizona An ’Unpenetrated Market’
Richmond said the Arizona agreement “represents a significant escalation in our push into the U.S.”
“The opportunity is particularly advantageous because Arizona is such an unpenetrated market, with no existing operators despite it being a state of sports fanatics,” Richmond said in the release. “Arizona’s population is twice that of Iowa, where we have our first US skin and where the sports betting market is estimated to have gaming revenue worth more than a billion U.S. dollars per year.”
The company had not considered Arizona as a “first mover state in our U.S. expansion,” Richmond said.
”But our strategy in the U.S. is to be continuously proactively seeking out new opportunities like this to grow our footprint swiftly to take full advantage of this unique green field prospect,” he said.
A survey commissioned by BetArizona.com showed there will be significant interest in legal sports betting when Arizona launches its market.
Details of the Deal
Here are details of the 10-year agreement between the tribe and BlueBet, according to the news release:
- The new online sportsbook will be offered through BlueBet’s mobile app and website platform technology, if it receives approval from regulators. The name of the app will be announced at a later time.
- BlueBet will pay the tribe an access fee for the market and a portion of net gaming revenue from online sports betting operations.
- BlueBet agrees to make an annual community fund donation to a community-based organization associated with the tribe.
- Licensing and regulatory costs associated with the operation of the online sportsbook will be paid for by BlueBet.