Arizona Ramps Things Up for Legal Sports Betting Launch
The Phoenix Suns are battling the Milwaukee Bucks for the 2021 NBA title just as the state of Arizona prepares to offer legal sports betting within its borders.
Suns’ fans may not be able get their bets placed in that best-of-seven NBA Finals showdown. Yet, sports fans across the state should be able to get in on all the action of the upcoming football season in early September.
The 2021 NFL regular season kicks things off on Thursday, Sept. 9 with the Dallas Cowboys going on the road as 6.5-point underdogs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as defending Super Bowl champions. The total line for that game is currently listed at 52.5 points.
Arizona remains on track to launch legal online sports betting that same day through mobile sportsbook apps. Recent updates from the Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) confirms that date. One big change in the regulatory process is the total number of licensed operators.
The second draft of the ADG rules and regulations pave the way for 20 different sports betting operators. Those 20 gaming licenses will be evenly split among two groups. The first is 10 professional sports franchises/venues such as the Phoenix Suns. The NFL franchise is the Arizona Cardinals with the Arizona Coyotes representing the NHL and the Arizona Diamondbacks representing Major League Baseball.
Another popular venue offering legal sports betting would be the TPC Scottsdale has the host golf course for the annual Waste Management Phoenix Open the same weekend as the Super Bowl.
The other 10 sports betting licenses will be granted to Native American Tribes with casino gaming. This procedure still needs to be determined since there are 15 federally recognized tribes in the state.
The ADG has added the following definition to defined event wagering platforms:
“The internet interface to a single event wagering system which is designed to accept mobile event wagers through a website or a mobile application.”
The rules go onto state that each operator can offer up to two online sportsbook brands per license as part of the single hardware system. This stipulation would make Arizona one of the most expansive online betting states in the nation.
The second round of rules and regulations were released in early July. This was followed by an open round of comments from interested parties. This included in-state sports franchises, sportsbook operators, Native Indian Tribal leaders and other members of the industry.
There was some added discussion concerning the multiple brands clause. Under the current draft of rules and regulations, the Arizona Coyotes first brand could be Coyote Bet to represent its NHL brand. The other online book could be RoadRunners Bet as a tie-in to their AHL affiliate team.
A big part of the rules defined the tax rate and licensing fees for sportsbook operators. The initial tax is set at 8% for all retail sports betting wagers at land-based sportsbooks. That rate would jump to 10% for digital wagers online.
Industry projections estimate that Arizona could generate more that $425 million in tax revenue. The ADG will also regulate application, licensing and renewal fees for in-state operators.
There is a $100,000 application fee. The initial cost of the license is set at $750,000. The annual renewal fee for that license is $150,000. Operators with retail sportsbook licenses only such as a racetrack would pay $25,000 for the initial license. The application fee and the renewal fee are each set at $5000.
Caesars Sportsbook has partnered with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Ak-Chin Indian Community. DraftKings has partnered with the PGA Tour. The Phoenix Suns and FanDuel have joined forces while Barstool Sportsbook has formed ties with NASCAR and the Phoenix Raceway.
Both the NFL’s Cardinals and the NHL’s Coyotes have yet to announce a sportsbook partnership.
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