Hours after WynnBET and Rush Street Interactive announced that they had been granted event wagering operator designee licenses in Arizona, the state’s Department of Gaming released a complete list of the professional sports teams/franchises and tribes that were awarded licenses and their partners.
The agency has plans to launch sports betting operators on Sept. 9, and they can begin marketing to customers at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.
Under the new law, the ADG could have allocated 20 licenses, 10 each to pro sports teams/franchises and tribes, but as of Friday night, it had issued 18 — 10 to tribes and eight to pro sports teams/franchises. The ADG announced earlier in August that it got 10 applications on the pro sports side, meaning two applicants were rejected.
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Approved operators can begin offering customers the chance to create and fund accounts at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, which is also when approved daily fantasy providers can begin operations. FanDuel, partnered with the Phoenix Suns, and DraftKings (TPC Scottsdale) are among those with plans to go live with DFS Saturday. FFPC, Yahoo, Fantasy Sports Shark, and Underdog Sports were also approved for DFS.
The ADG approved applications from all four major professional sports franchises, NASCAR, the PGA Tour, the WNBA, and the Indoor Football League (IFL):
- Bally’s and WNBA Mercury
- BetMGM and NFL Cardinals
- Caesars and MLB Diamondbacks
- DraftKings and TPC Scottsdale (PGA)
- FanDuel and NBA Suns
- Penn National Gaming/Barstool Sportsbook and Phoenix Raceway (NASCAR)
- Rush Street Interactive/Bet Rivers and Arizona Rattlers (IFL)
The NHL Coyotes were also approved, but no partner is listed. It appears the Coyotes will move forward with a so-called “white-label” technology system and use their own brand on the platform. And though the ADG did not announce a list of applicants, there are two other IFL teams in Arizona — the Tucson Sugar Skulls and the Northern Arizona Wranglers. It’s possible that one or both were among the applicants.
10 tribes approved, but only 6 operators listed
Earlier Friday, WynnBET became the first operator partnered with a tribe to announce it had secured a license through a partnership with the San Carlos Apache Tribal Gaming Enterprise.
Sixteen tribes applied for licenses, and the ADG, by law, could only issue 10. They went to:
- Fort Mojave Indian Tribe and SuperBook Sports
- Navajo Nation
- Fort Yuma Quechan and Kindred/Unibet
- Tonto Apache and Churchill Downs/TwinSpires
- Tohono O’odham
- Hualpai Tribe and Golden Nugget
- Ak-Chin Indian Community
- San Juan Souther Paiute and Digital Gaming
- San Carlos Apache and WynnBET
- Fort McDowell Yavapi
The approved list has some notable exceptions — Gila River Casinos, which has a three-way partnership with BetMGM and owns and operates three casinos; the Salt River Tribe, which owns and operates two casinos; and PointsBet, which had previously announced a partnership with the Yavapi-Apache Nation. In addition, the Fort McDowell Yavapi, which previously announced a deal with Betfred, and the Ak-Chin Indian Community, which has a longstanding partnership with Harrah’s, are listed without event wagering partners, while Colorado River Tribes (BlueBet) and Pascua-Yaqui Tribe (Scientific Games) had previously announced partnerships, but were not on the list.
Another tribe, the Yavapi Prescott, filed a lawsuit Thursday claiming the new law violates the state’s Voter Protection Act.
Meanwhile in Arizona…
According to @KOLDNews, Arizona's Yavapi Prescott Tribe filed suit against Gov. Doug Ducey and Dept. of Gaming Director Ted Vogt alleging that the state's new sports betting law violates the Voter Protection Act by allowing commercial operators…
— Sports Handle (@sports_handle) August 27, 2021
The ADG is targeting a Sept. 9 go-live date for sports betting (or event wagering) operators. That coincides with the first day of the 2021-22 NFL season.
WynnBET offering rewards; RSI partnership
WynnBET customers will be able to earn Wynn Rewards points through the sports betting platform, and those points can be used for in-person benefits at Wynn properties. The company did not announce whether it will offer any signup bonuses or other promotions.
Rush Street Interactive was the only well-known operator that had not previously announced market access in Arizona.
“We are very excited to bring our BetRivers mobile apps to Arizona together with the Rattlers, which are deeply rooted in the Phoenix community and share RSI’s commitment to excellence,” Rush Street CEO Richard Schwartz said via press release. “Arizonans are accustomed to receiving a championship-caliber product on the field with the Rattlers, and we look forward to offering them a similarly high-quality product off the field through our award-winning BetRivers platform and top-notch customer service.”
On Thursday, BetMGM announced that it got approval, but did not specify if that approval is linked to its deal with the NFL Cardinals or Gila River Casinos.
“It is an exciting day here at BetMGM to get the official sign-off to launch on day one of sports betting in Arizona,” said BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt via press release. “Through our partnerships with Gila River and the Arizona Cardinals, as well as the benefits of being connected to MGM Resorts properties nationwide, we have many exciting things in store for sports fans in Arizona.”