The Arizona Department of Gaming hosted a virtual public comment meeting Friday to specifically discuss AZ sports betting license allocation.
The ADG will use the discussed guidelines if there are more qualified applicants than licenses available. There are 20 available AZ sports betting licenses that include mobile and retail sportsbooks, including 10 each for the state’s professional sports teams and its gaming tribes.
“We look forward to wrapping this up very soon and pushing the rules out and getting moving on the rest of the process,” ADG Director Ted Vogt said. “We will go ahead, once we have these rules in a final format, come up with a much more solid time frame that we will release publicly.”
The state has set September 9 as the official launch date.
AZ sports betting license allocation guidelines
If more than 10 teams or sports organizations, or 10 tribes apply for the licenses, the ADG will use guidelines to “make allocation decisions as quickly as reasonably possible.” FanDuel Director of Government Affairs Andrew Winchell asked for clarity in the rules for each category.
The list of 19 guidelines ranges from track record as a gaming entity to competency to financial stability. There will also be a preference for companies headquartered or located in the state who can increase employment in Arizona.
The department will use a similar set of guidelines if there are more than 10 qualified applicants for limited event wagering operators. Those licensees can offer retail sports betting.
Casino Del Sol Resort General Counsel Amanda Lomayesva said a few of the criteria stray from the original negotiations. The Pascua Yaqui Tribe owns Casino Del Sol.
Lomayesva said some of the criteria seem “pretty subjective” versus more merit- and experience-based in previous discussions.
Vogt said the ADG will look at a holistic approach to community contributions when asked for clarification on the point by Kindred Group Deputy General Counsel Liv Biesemans. Kindred has market access in California and Arizona through the Quechan Tribe.
“[It] won’t go down just to dollars,” Vogt said. “We want to see what they have done and what are they going to do in communities.”
There are 22 tribes in the state, with 16 operating the state’s 24 “Las Vegas-style” gaming facilities.
Steady flow to AZ sports betting
Since Gov. Doug Ducey signed HB 2772 and an updated tribal compact in April, regulators have kept the process moving forward for the planned Sept. 9 launch of sports betting in Arizona.
The ADG released an initial draft of rules in June. Following a public comment period, the ADG updated the draft of rules from comments with license fee and tax rate:
- 8% tax on retail bets
- 10% tax on mobile bets
- $850,000 initial license fee
A second public comment session was held July 7, prior to the new update. In the most recent rules draft, licensees can use one sports wagering system, but offer up to two platforms.
Partners continue to align
Following Ducey’s signature, partners are quickly aligning to gain market access in what should be a strong sports betting market. The state is also preparing daily fantasy sports rules this year.
FanDuel, DraftKings and Caesars quickly found partners in the Phoenix Suns, PGA Tour Waste Management Open and Arizona Diamondbacks, respectively.
In the past month, Bally’s Corp. partnered with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and WynnBet aligned with the San Carlos Apache Tribe.