The next chapter in the rollout of Arizona sports betting unfolded Friday, as the Arizona Department of Gaming granted operator’s licenses to 18 applicants.
The announcement Friday comes after a lawsuit was filed by the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe on Thursday seeking to delay the issuing of licenses and the launch sports betting in the state.
The department was tasked with handing out 10 licenses to Arizona tribes and another 10 to professional sports teams or venues, so they and their partners could operate daily fantasy sports or mobile and retail sports betting in the state. In the end, there were 10 given to tribes and eight to pro teams/venues.
Early registration by bettors for Arizona sports betting apps began Saturday. New bettors could take advantage of promotions and be ready to wager when the market launches.
During the process, 24 operators applied for licenses, which forced the department to spend an extra eight business days deciding who would get them.
Legal sports betting in Arizona can kick off on Sept. 9, and NFL betting sites in the state are expected to be robust. Bettors interested in Arizona Cardinals betting can place their wagers in time for the Sept. 12 opening game.
Who Received Licenses, Pro Teams
Eight professional sports teams/venues from the Phoenix area received licenses:
- FanDuel Arizona (partnered with the Phoenix Suns);
- BetMGM Arizona (partnered with Arizona Cardinals and Gila River Community);
- DraftKings Arizona (partnered with TPC Scottsdale);
- Penn National Gaming/Barstool Sports (partnered with Phoenix International Raceway);
- Caesars Arizona (partnered with Arizona Diamondbacks);
- Ballys (partnered with Phoenix Mercury);
- Rush Street Interactive (partnered with Arizona Rattlers);
- Arizona Coyotes.
Who Received Licenses, Tribes
Ten Arizona tribes wound up receiving sports betting operator’s licenses:
- Fort Mojave Indian Tribe (SuperBook Sports);
- Navajo Nation;
- Quechan Tribe Unibet Arizona;
- Tonto Apache Tribe (Churchill Downs/TwinSpires Arizona);
- Tohono O’odham Nation;
- Hualapai Tribe (Golden Nugget)
- AK-Chin Indian Community (Fubo Gaming);
- San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe (Digital Gaming);
- San Carlos Apache Tribe (WynnBet Arizona);
- Ft. McDowell Yavapai Nation
What the Lawsuit Could Mean
The civil lawsuit from the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe in Maricopa County Superior Court seeks an injunction and potentially could mean the delay of legal sports betting in the state. Gov. Doug Ducey and Arizona Department of Gaming Director Ted Vogt are listed in the suit as the defendants.
A main sticking point for the tribe, according to a news release, is the compact’s limited number of sportsbook licenses for tribes, in addition to the way the measure was passed and became law. In Arizona. There are 22 federally recognized tribes in Arizona, and 16 of those operate casinos and want in on sports betting.
Prescott did not receive a license.
The lawsuit alleges that Arizona House Bill 2772 illegally passed. It was signed into law on April 15, but the tribe says it is unconstitutional. The suit says the sports betting law illegally undermined the legislative process in Arizona and hurt certain tribes.
The tribe wants a restraining order and/or injunction to stop the licensing of sports betting until the suit is decided. A hearing is set for Sept. 3, according to the court’s website.