The Arizona Department of Gaming Monday morning officially opened a 10-day application window for event wagering licenses after filing the final rules with the Secretary of State and posting an 18-page application for event wagering operators.
It also posted applications for limited event wagering licenses, management services providers, suppliers, ancillary suppliers, and employees. According to an updated calendar, the latest that licenses will be awarded is Aug. 27, and event wagering is set to start Sept. 9, the first day of the NFL season.
The Arizona regulator will award up to 20 event wagering operator licenses — 10 each to professional sports franchises and tribes. The licenses, which have a $100,000 application fee, $750,000 initial license fee (covering five years), and $150,000 renewal fee, would allow holders to offer retail and statewide digital wagering, with up to two digital platforms. Those two platforms must run on the same hardware system and be part of the same organization or company — i.e. FanDuel could potentially operate FanDuel and FOX Bet platforms through its partnership with the NBA Suns, or Caesars could potentially offer Caesars and William Hill-branded platforms through its partnership with the MLB Diamondbacks. The ADG said a second platform is not guaranteed.
Applicants are required to provide a range of information, from proof that they are operating in other U.S. jurisdictions to an organizational chart to detailed financial information. Within the application is a supplemental section that will be used to determine how licenses are allocated, if there are more than 10 professional sports franchises or 10 tribes that apply. That section includes questions about current and planned local contributions, player protection, and a company’s ability to go live with event wagering within six months.
The ADG previously shared that it will give preference to applicants with headquarters or other significant business footprints in Arizona. On the tribal side, licenses will be allocated such “that they be distributed among non-gaming tribes, rural gaming tribes, and to tribes located relatively near metropolitan areas in the State.”
Eight major operators have access
Bally’s, Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel, Kindred (Unibet), Penn National Gaming, PointsBet, and WynnBet will be among the applicants, as all already have secured market access. PNG, which uses Barstool Sports for its digital platform, and PointsBet announced new partnerships last week. The biggest company not to have announced a partner is BetMGM. BetRivers is also currently without an announced partner. The Gila River Tribe, which has three casinos and a fourth planned in the metro Phoenix area, has not yet announced a partner.
Arizona is going to be a powerhouse sports betting state that will make a lot of people in NV & CA very nervous.
Biggest key to success? Plentiful licenses and a licensing application that is a single page long.
Giddy up! 🏇
— Captain Jack Andrews (@capjack2000) July 26, 2021
It appears that only seven professional sports franchises in Arizona currently meet the criteria for a license, and all but two — the NFL Cardinals and NHL Coyotes — have announced partners. On the tribal side, there are more than 10 gaming tribes, and if more than 10 apply for licenses, the ADG will apply its allocation review process.
Here’s a look a how operators have partnered so far:
WNBA Mercury — Bally’s
MLB Diamondbacks — Caesars
PGA Tour/TPC Scottsdale — DraftKings
NBA Suns — FanDuel
NASCAR/Phoenix Raceway — Penn National
Ak-Chin — Caesars (via Harrah’s partnership)
Quechan Tribe — Kindred
Yavapai-Apache Nation — PointsBet
San Carlos Apache — WynnBet
Arizona lawmakers also legalized daily fantasy sports, and the ADG has been developing rule-making application processes for that. According to the latest update, daily fantasy providers can go live on Aug. 28, which will allow companies like DraftKings and FanDuel a leg up on their sportsbook competition by signing up and marketing event wagering to daily fantasy players.
The ADG’s latest calendar shows the application window that opened this week closing on Monday, Aug. 9. Following that, these are the key dates:
Aug. 10: The initial licensure review period begins and runs for five days.
Aug. 16: ADG will announce which applicants meet the initial qualifications. It’s possible that the professional sports franchises will be awarded licenses on this date, if there are no more than 10 applicants.
Aug. 17: The allocation decision evaluation period begins and runs up to eight days.
Aug. 27: Allocation of licenses will be announced.
Aug. 28: Licensed operators can begin marketing and taking advance sign-ups.
Aug. 28: Daily fantasy operators can go live.
Sept. 9: Event wagering can begin.