Are We Really A Month Out From Legal Arizona Sports Betting?

Written By Brant James on August 9, 2021 - Last Updated on June 8, 2022

In one month, the Arizona Department of Gaming hopes to flip the proverbial switch on legal sports betting operations in the state.

Not coincidentally, the National Football League season is slated to begin on that Thursday and three days later the Arizona Cardinals will face the Tennessee Titans in their regular season opening.

The target launch date for AZ sportsbooks

With NFL betting the largest money-making, interest-generating market for sportsbooks, there’s no surprise that Sept. 9 was targeted. That Arizona sports betting would make that deadline, given that Gov. Doug Ducey didn’t sign legislation into law until April, culminating the renegotiation of a new compact with the state’s native tribes, is a testament to the effort in the Valley of the Sun.

Exactly a month before that official kickoff, the Arizona Cardinals announced a partnership and market access deal with Arizona BetMGM sportsbook through the Gila River Indian Community that by 2022 will put a sportsbook in State Farm Stadium. The Cardinals are the first NFL franchise to announce plans for an in-stadium sportsbook.

That so many operators rushed into the unique market in which pro sports teams and tribes hold the keys to the licenses showed how much potential was seen in a state of more than 7 million.

Arizona sports bettors will be able to place bets either on their mobile phones or computers anywhere in the state except on tribal lands, or visit retail sportsbooks that will open in casinos or sports venues like TPC Scottsdale or Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Here’s the latest on Arizona sports betting as sports betting looms on the horizon.

Why making football kickoff matters

Arizona sports betting should arrive just before the Cardinals kickoff and a week after Arizona State and Arizona commence their college schedules. This matters, and regulators and operators seeking to maximize revenue know it.

According to PlayUSA projections:

  • More than $20 billion in single-game football wagers will be made in 2021, excluding parlay bets. Those bets could produce as much as $1.5 billion in revenue for sportsbooks.
  • At least $12 billion will be bet on the NFL this season, excluding parlay bets. Those wagers will produce at least $800 million in revenue.
  • College football will attract $8 billion in wagering, excluding parlay bets. Sportsbooks could win more than $550 million from those wagers.

Sportsbooks love Arizona bowl games

In the past month, Barstool Sports bought the naming right to the Arizona Bowl, and Caesars entered into a sweeping marketing agreement with the Fiesta Bowl. The Caesars deal will make it a title partner of the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl and a presenting partner of the Arizona Bank & Trust Fiesta Bowl Kickoff Luncheon. The company will also host in-stadium fan lounges for the Fiesta Bowl and Guaranteed Rate Bowl.

How many sportsbooks will be in Arizona?

The Arizona Department of Gaming will announce this officially on Aug. 16. There will be 20 total licenses: 10 for native tribal casinos sports and 10 for professional sports franchises and venues. There will also be 10 scaled-down set-ups at horse racing tracks and off-track wagering parlors.

Those seeking licenses to offer sports bets had to apply by Aug. 9. There’s a lot of competition for those spots and some hopefuls will be left out, namely on the tribal side. The ADG announced taht 25 groups have sought licenses: 10 for pro sports venues – meaning some unexpected ones applied – and 15 tribes.

Do we know what sportsbooks will be live at launch?

The Arizona Department of Gaming has not yet officially issued licenses to online and retail sportsbooks, but applications are pouring in. Partnerships are being made.

Here are the sportsbooks that have made deals with pro sports venues for market access. So far the PGA Tour, Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury, NASCAR and the Arizona Diamondbacks have plans to open in-person sportsbooks in their venues. The Coyotes (NHL) are the only Arizona pro franchise with no announced deal.

  • DraftKings Sportsbook AZ – TPC Scottsdale (PGA)
  • Caesars Sports AZ – Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks)
  • Bally Bet AZ – Footprint Center (Phoenix Mercury)
  • Barstool Sportsbook AZ – Phoenix Raceway (NASCAR)
  • WynnBet Arizona – Apache Gold, Apache Sky casinos (San Carlos Apache Tribe)
  • PointsBet Arizona – Cliff Castle Casino (Yavapai-Apache Nation)
  • Unibet Sportsbook AZ – Paradise Casino (Fort Yuma – Quechan Tribe)
  • TwinSpires – Mazatzal Hotel & Casino (Tonto Apache Tribe)
  • BetMGM – Gila River Hotels & Casinos  (Gila River Nation Community; Arizona Cardinals)
  • FanDuel AZ – Footprint Center

Stretching more than 7,400 square feet, including an outdoor terrace, the FanDuel Sportsbook at Footprint Center will feature five betting windows, and one VIP window, 40 HD televisions, a 35-foot video wall, an MVP Room and 26 self-service betting kiosks. The FanDuel Sportsbook will be open daily for patrons to place wagers on a wide variety of events throughout the year.

What about Arizona daily fantasy sports?

Daily fantasy sports is slated to begin in Arizona on Aug. 28.

Photo by Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press
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Brant James

Brant James is a veteran journalist who has twice been recognized in the Associated Press Sports Editors Awards, most recently in 2020. He's covered motorsports, the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball among a myriad of others beats and written enterprise and sports business for publications including USA TODAY,,

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