First Written Comments On Arizona Sports Betting Rules Released

Posted on June 29, 2021
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Written By on June 29, 2021

The Arizona Department of Gaming published the first set of written comments for a draft of Arizona sports betting rules.

The comments came a little more than a week after the rules draft was released and public comment sessions were held. The public comment period closed June 21.

Most of the written comments echoed the verbal comments made during the virtual public meetings. 

The comments range from disappointment Arizona legalized sports betting to minor language clarification. One commenter simply said, “DraftKings should be live before September 9th,” the official stated launch date for Arizona sports betting.

Arizona sports betting rules still up for debate

When the ADG released the rules draft, it said it is still working on four specific issues:

  • Number of skins
  • License fees
  • Tax rate
  • License allocation 

All four still appear to be somewhat in the air. ADG Director Ted Vogt said the next draft of rules will contain tax and license fees proposals.

AZ sports betting license allocation, skin talk

The Arizona sports betting legislation dictates 20 licenses, split between the state’s professional sports teams and gaming tribes. There are, however, 22 gaming tribes and six sports teams and venues.

The way licenses are allocated, specifically amongst tribes, is still to be determined. Also up in the air: the number of skins each license receives.

In the comments, San Carlos Apache Tribe Chairman Terry Rambler wrote it is “critical” to state the number of skins a licensee can hold. Testimonies during the public meetings from Arizona sports teams and operators said they would prefer one partner.

A representative from United Soccer League team Phoenix Rising wrote the team should be included as a professional sports team. USL is a level below Major League Soccer. 

Racetrack and OTB clarifications

Along with the 20 full licenses, there are 10 retail-only licenses available for the state’s racetracks and OTBs.

Arizona Downs partner Tom Auther wants to clean up language that might require a racetrack to partner with a full event wagering operator. The rule language is ambiguous stating “an event wagering operator may partner with a racetrack.”

“This is extremely onerous as there is really not a large amount of money in this for us and having to negotiate with a professional team and further water down our income seems unfair,” Auther wrote. “We already are the only non-tribal entity that handles bets, we have the equipment, we have the personnel and we have a permit already … why do we need to partner with somebody else.”

Cleaning up the language

As in the public meeting, there are plenty of comments asking for clarifications in the rules text. 

Churchill Downs Inc. Senior Counsel Chad Riney wrote a dozen comments asking for clarification and small additions, such as accepting credit cards for mobile wagering deposits.

Rush Street Interactive Chief Compliance Officer Laura McAllister Cox also wrote several comments asking for clarifications, ranging from the removal of short sections to clarifying what “marketing services” means. 

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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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