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Arizona Finalizing Agreement for Legal Sports Betting

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The U.S. Department of Interior has given approval to the new gaming compact between the state of Arizona and its Native American tribes. This decision was actually delivered much earlier than expected, and the pressure is now on lawmakers to take the next step.

On April 15, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed the new compact and accompanying bills into law, sending it to the federal government for approval. HB 2772 was included with the compact when it was sent to Ducey, and it establishes the general guidelines for the new industry. 

The Arizona Department of Gaming has already started the process of reviewing potential sports betting rules, but nothing has been finalized at this time. The Department of Gaming is expected to release the first draft of these rules soon, and then feedback will be accepted for a 60-day period. 

The ADG is looking for input from industry leaders and stakeholders, but there is hope that the first draft is received well. After feedback is given, the ADG will then submit the final rules to the public.

Now that this compact has been approved at the federal level, it is up to the state to do its part to keep the projected launch date the same. Arizona could become a large sports betting market in the U.S., but only if the rules and regulations are favorable for operators. 

Details of Bill

House Bill 2772 was sponsored by Representative Jeff Weninger and was needed in order for sports betting to be legalized. Professional sports teams in Arizona provided support to this bill and played a key role in getting this legislation passed.

This bill allows for 20 sports betting licenses to be available in Arizona, and that should help create a competitive and productive market. The Native American tribes in Arizona can apply for 10 of these licenses, and the other 10 will be reserved for professional sports teams.

Both online and retail sports betting can be offered by sportsbooks, with retail expected to launch first. Some big-name operators have already expressed interest in acquiring an Arizona sports betting license, including BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel

Arizona is one of the 15th most populous states in the US, and that should allow it to become a big market in the sports betting industry. This state will be competing for business with both Colorado and Nevada, but there is opportunity in this part of the country. 

Rush to Launch

This quick decision by the US Department of Interior will keep Arizona on track to launch sports betting prior to the start of the 2021 NFL season. Betting on the NFL remains the biggest market in the United States and would allow Arizona to get off to a fast start.

There was also an emergency clause included in HB 2772 that will speed up the process of launching sports betting, but the Arizona Department of Gaming needs to release the initial draft of the rules quickly. 

It’s unclear when sportsbooks can begin applying for licenses, but that will likely be outlined in the rules announced by the ADG.

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