The Arizona sports betting market is getting a new member.
The Churchill-Downs-owned TwinSpires AZ Sportsbook announced Friday it is partnering with the Tonto Apache Tribe in order to secure market access to Arizona. Tonto Apache Tribe is the owner and operator of the Mazatal Hotel and Casino.
“In conjunction with our world-class partner, we look forward to supporting the local community and bringing more visitors to the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino and our beautiful county,” Tonto Apache Chairman Calvin Johnson said in a news release.
Through the deal, TwinSpires will be able to open a retail sportsbook within the Mazatal Hotel and Casino. TwinSpires will also launch its online sportsbook within the state. Both the retail and mobile sportsbook are subject to obtaining the proper gaming licenses and receiving regulatory approvals.
“The team behind the most exciting two minutes in sports is thrilled to partner with the Tonto Apache Tribe and pursue offering our leading sportsbook product and promotions to sports fans throughout Arizona,” TwinSpires President Ian Williams said in the release.
Churchill Downs Inc. is known for hosting the Kentucky Derby and being a part of 150 years of gaming history within the U.S.
TwinSpires is currently available in six states, including Colorado, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Indiana, Mississippi and Michigan. Churchill Downs’ BetAmerica sports betting and iGaming platform in New Jersey will transition to the TwinSpires brand during the third quarter of 2021.
Arizona Aiming for Launch Before NFL Season
TwinSpires and the other operators in the state could be ready for Arizona NFL sports betting. The state recently announced it is still on schedule to meet the targeted “go-live” date of Sept. 9, which also marks the start of the 2021-22 NFL season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosting the Dallas Cowboys. The Arizona Cardinals debut their season against the Tennessee Titans on Sept. 12.
The Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) began accepting applications on Monday. It also posted the final proposed regulations and the application on its website, in addition to sending the proposed regulations to the Secretary of State’s office.
Arizona law allows for a maximum of 20 event wagering licenses in the state, with 10 reserved for the Arizona tribes. Ten others are reserved for an owner of an Arizona professional sports team, operator of a sports facility that hosts an annual tournament on the PGA Tour, franchise, promoter of a NASCAR race in the state and operator’s or promoter’s designee contracted to operate both retail event wagering at a sports facility or complex and mobile event wagering within the state.
There are also 10 limited event wagering licenses available that are reserved for racetrack enclosures or additional OTBs in Arizona.