Late Friday, the Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) announced the recipients of eighteen of the twenty sports betting licenses it will award, giving these licensees a head start in preparing for the planned September 9 launch of legal sports betting in the Copper State.
According to department director Ted Vogt, the selection process was done objectively, these license awards being “the result of a rulemaking process with input from the public and others to ensure impartiality and fairness for the applicants.”
The chosen operators include DraftKings, FanDuel, FFPC, Yahoo, Fantasy Sports Shark and Underdog Sports, sportsbooks that will now be permitted to use their pre-launch bonus offers to begin attracting bettors to sign up starting on Saturday.
Of the twenty potential licensees, ten were in connection with Native American tribes and the other ten were tied to professional sports teams/franchises.
Though sixteen native tribes applied for licenses, only ten were allowed to be selected, including the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, who will partner with SuperBook Sports, the Fort Yuma Quechan, who will partner with Kindred/Unibet, and the Tonto Apache, who will partner Churchill Downs/TwinSpires.
Of the ten pro sports entities that applied, only eight were awarded licenses, including the WNBA’s Mercury, who will partner with Bally’s, the NFL’s Cardinals, who will partner with BetMGM, and the MLB’s Diamondbacks, who will partner with Caesars Sportsbooks.
Now these operators have less than two weeks to recruit Arizona bettors before the planned launch for legal sports betting in early September.
The plan all along in Arizona was to have legal sports betting up and running in time for the beginning of the 2021 NFL season, which starts on Thursday, September 9 with a matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and last year’s champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
There could be a legal snag, however, given the lawsuit that was filed Thursday against Gov. Doug Ducey and Arizona Department of Gaming Director Ted Vogt alleging that “the state’s new sports betting law violates the Voter Protection Act by allowing commercial operators.”
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 gist of the suit is that state lawmakers illegally passed the sports betting law back in April because it allows non-tribal gaming operators to gamble outside of tribal land, something which is prohibited by the Voter Protection Act.
If red tape from this litigation gets too thick, it could threaten the September 9 launch date in Arizona, a delay that could cost operators potential revenue as well as upset Grand Canyon State bettors who are counting on making NFL wagers in a couple of weeks.
Check back often to get the latest updates on Arizona’s journey to legal sports betting.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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