Arizona Sports Betting On Track Following Public Comment Period

Posted on June 22, 2021
Arizona sports betting
Posted By on June 22, 2021

Aside from a few minor suggestions for changes, rules for Arizona sports betting took another step closer to the finish line Monday.

The Arizona Department of Gaming held public discussions on a draft of AZ sports betting rules last week and Monday. The meetings should keep Arizona sports betting on track for a planneed Sept. 9 launch.

The main subjects still under debate are:

  • Number of skins
  • License fees
  • Tax rate, or what Arizona is calling privilege fees
  • License allocation

The ADG accepted written comments until 11:59 on June 21. ADG Director Ted Vogt said there will be another “brief” public comment period after these meetings are taken into consideration and the rules updated, likely within the next week. Vogt said proposed license fees and tax rates will be included in the next draft.

Arizona sports betting license allocation

Arizona legislation passed this spring allocates 10 licenses to the state’s 22 gaming tribes and 10 licenses to professional sports organizations and venues. There are currently six professional sports entities in Arizona.

With 10 licenses for the gaming tribes, the ADG must determine how to distribute them.

There are also 10 licenses for “limited event wagering operators” for racetracks and OTBs. Those operators must partner with one of the 20 event wagering operators, but details are still being ironed out.

One is the preferred skin number

Of interested parties speaking up in the discussions, it appears each license holder will receive one skin.

Representatives from both the Arizona Coyotes and Diamondbacks, as well as FanDuel, said they are happy with the language for a single skin. Despite holding multiple national sportsbook partnerships, PGA Tour VP and Assistant General Counsel David Miller and NASCAR Managing Director of Sports Betting Joe Solosky spoke to their preference and asked for clarification that it is one single skin.

FanDuel Director of Government Affairs Andrew Winchell suggested some fine-tuning to the language to allow for different technology systems to accept retail and online bets.

Several speakers suggested commercially reasonable terms for official league data use. Sportradar‘s Brandt Iden suggested the ADG look to Michigan sports betting language for guidance. Iden is a former Michigan state legislator.

Other Arizona sports betting discussion points

Winchell was the most vocal participant during Friday’s meeting. He largely spoke to small clarifying language changes.

Lobbyist John Pappas suggested the ADG list credit cards as a way to fund player accounts.

Trevor Hayes, representing Caesars and William Hill, asked whether sportsbooks could help users set up accounts prior to the official launch.

A fast journey

Arizona was a relatively surprising state to legalize sports betting this year. Once passed, the state is shaping up to be one of the fastest to launch following legislative approval.

After Gov. Doug Ducey spoke about sports betting in his State of the State address in January, Sen. T.J. Shope and Rep. Jeff Weninger sponsored similar bills in both chambers. Despite some delays in the legislative process, legislators ultimately passed HB 2772 April 12.

Ducey signed the bill and an expanded tribal gaming compact April 15. The Federal Register published the Department of the Interior‘s approval of the compact May 24.

ADG works quickly

The legislation passed with an emergency declaration with a goal to launch in time for NFL betting. The ADG laid out an expedited timeline on April 21 and in early June announced the Sept. 9 launch date.

“The department is already hard at work drafting rules and procedures to ensure the safety and security of the Arizona betting public as we look towards implementing event and fantasy sports wagering in the months ahead,” Vogt said in an April release.

The ADG released the first draft of rules June 17 and the public meetings were set.

What comes next for Arizona sports betting?

The ADG will update rules based on the comments received the past week. While Vogt said another round of comments will occur, the timeline says the ADG prepares for the  start date after it files the amended rules.

Several operators and potential license holders already have partnered and are presumably preparing for launch:

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Pat Evans

Pat Evans is a Las Vegas-based reporter covering sports business. Evans previously worked at Front Office Sports and the Grand Rapids Business Journal. He has authored two books: Grand Rapids Beer and Nevada Beer.

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