More Qualified Tribes Than Available AZ Sports Betting Licenses

Written By Pat Evans on August 18, 2021
AZ sports betting

State regulators have a tough job ahead with less than a month to go until the Sept. 9 launch of AZ sports betting.

With 16 tribal applications, the Arizona Department of Gaming determined there were more qualified applicants than the 10 Arizona sports betting licenses available for tribes. The application period closed Aug. 9 and the ADG notified each applicant of its qualification status on Monday.

Now, the ADG has until Aug. 27 to evaluate the applicants and allocate the licenses. The department will not disclose applicant identities due to “statutory confidentiality obligations.” The ADG this week rejected an LSR Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to name the applicants.

During the rulemaking process, the ADG established a set of guidelines for such a situation.

License evaluation guidelines for Arizona sportsbooks

Criteria considered for license allocation include:

  • Business track record of both the applicant and partners
  • Local investment commitments
  • Ability to begin offering AZ sports betting within six months
  • Financial stability
  • “For tribal licenses, a preference that licenses be distributed among non-gaming tribes, rural gaming tribes, and to tribes located relatively near metropolitan areas in the state.”

There are 22 tribes in the state, with 16 of them operating 24 gaming facilities. The licenses allow for full mobile operation, as each tribal casino can operate a retail sportsbook under the new compacts with the state.

There are 20 AZ sports betting licenses available, including the 10 reserved for professional sports organizations in the state. There were 10 applicants for the professional sports organization licenses. However, not all of those applicants are guaranteed to have qualified for a license.

Known AZ sports betting partnerships

Since Gov. Doug Ducey signed the sports betting legislation and updated tribal compacts in April, partnerships between sportsbooks, teams, and tribes quickly emerged.

The known partnerships include:

In a recent earnings call, Rush Street Interactive revealed it applied for a license, but did not disclose a partner.

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Pat Evans

Pat Evans is a Grand Rapids, Michigan-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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