Sports betting in Arizona launched back in 2021 and of the 20 available licenses, 18 were approved. But with one sportsbook shutting down and two unclaimed licenses, there are three now available and the chosen operators will be announced on August 29th.
Fubo Sportsbook Shuts the Lights
When sports betting was approved and subsequently launched in 2021, the Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) awarded 10 licenses to Native American tribes located within the state coupled with eight of the possible 10 licenses allocated for professional sports organizations.
Therefore, 18 top sportsbooks had been active in the Grand Canyon State until late last year when one of the operators under the tribal umbrella, Fubo Sportsbook, shuttered operations. A foreshadowing of this was already in motion when a Fubo TV shareholder letter distributed in late August read,
“We continue to believe that an integrated wagering platform, offering both live video and a sportsbook, will result in the best viewing and gaming experience for customers. However, as we have evaluated how best to scale these capabilities in today’s market, we have concluded that we will no longer pursue this opportunity on our own.
“We are in internal and external discussions to determine the best path forward for Fubo’s gaming business and look forward to sharing more information.”
Come and Get’em
After maintaining the 17 licenses for several months, the Arizona Department of Gaming has decided to field inquiries and bids on the three remaining licenses. The updated application forms and guidelines were available on July 14th with the application period terminating on August 15th.
At that point, according to the ADG, regulators will “thoroughly evaluate all applications received based on the established criteria pursuant to the state’s event wagering rules and statutes.”
An announcement awarding the licenses is expected on August 29th where the winners of the lone tribal license and two commercial licenses associated with professional sports organizations will be revealed.
The initial license fee of $850,000 is the same as it was back in 2021 and that includes the $150,000 application fee. There will also be a yearly renewal fee of $150,000 that will come from each licensee and go directly to the state.
What’s at Stake?
Arizona may be primarily desert but it’s fertile soil for the sports betting market and had the seventh largest sports betting handle in the nation, accepting over $664 million in wagers. It ended the first quarter of 2023 with a whopping $1.84 billion handle which was a 5.6 percent increase over Q1 2022.
And while the year-over-year growth in the dollar amount of overall bets accepted was a positive sign for growth in the market, the 28 percent spike in operators’ revenue over the same time last year was particularly impressive. Arizona sportsbooks reported over $136.2 million in revenue in Q1 2023 which should generate plenty of publicity for the three available licenses.
Fanatics and Bet365 are expected to have at least a passing interest in the licenses, especially the former after getting approved to buy the U.S. assets of PointsBet. Assuming the pair is interested in obtaining licenses they would, along with other possible candidates, be joining the following sportsbooks in the Arizona market:
- Bally Bet (partnered with the Phoenix Mercury).
- Barstool Sportsbook (partnered with Phoenix Raceway).
- Betfred (partnered with the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation).
- BetMGM (partnered with the Arizona Cardinals and Gila River Hotels & Casinos).
- BetRivers (partnered with the Arizona Rattlers).
- Betway (partnered with the San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe).
- Caesars (partnered with the Arizona Diamondbacks).
- Desert Diamond (operated by the Tohono O’odham Nation).
- DraftKings (partnered with the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open).
- FanDuel (partnered with the Phoenix Suns).
- Golden Nugget (partnered with the Hualapai Tribe).
- Hard Rock Sportsbook (partnered with the Navajo Nation).
- Sahara Bets (operated by the Arizona Coyotes).
- SuperBook (partnered with the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe).
- TwinSpires (partnered with the Tonto Apache Tribe).
- Unibet (partnered with the Fort Yuma-Quechan Tribe).
- WynnBet (partnered with the San Carlos Apache Tribe).