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Arizona to accept new event wagering licence applications in February

| By Kyle Goldsmith
The Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) will begin accepting new event wagering licences in February, it announced on Tuesday.

Arizona tribes will have one licence reserved. Additionally, the state will reserve no less than one for sports franchises in the state.

Applicants must submit their applications between 16 February and 4 March. A qualification determination will be announced to selected applicants later in March.

Should there be more qualified applicants than available licences, the ADG will review each application and provide written notification to those selected for allocation.

Arizona’s sports betting surge in 2023

The ADG’s announcement comes after a rise in Arizona’s sports betting handle in the back end of 2023.

Almost $650m (£513.1m/€598.4m) was wagered on sports in October 2023, a 4.8% increase on the same month in 2022. The figure also hiked 6.2% compared to September 2023.

Only March 2022, in which $691m worth of wagers was accepted, exceeds the October 2023 handle. Mobile betting dominated total wagering, producing nearly 99% of betting turnover. Retail, meanwhile, counted for just $5.4m.

DraftKings and FanDuel each generated nearly identical amounts of mobile gaming turnover, both reporting around $220m. FanDuel was the biggest retail bookmaker, though, with revenue of $2.1m.

New operators in Arizona

Previously, legislation allowed for a maximum of 20 event wagering licences in Arizona, with 10 reserved for tribes and another 10 reserved for a number of sports-related parties. There were also 10 limited event wagering licences available, reserved for racetrack enclosures or additional wagering facilities.

A number of operators received licences in Arizona in 2023, with Bet365 cleared to offer sports betting in the state in August. As of yet, however, the Stoke-on-Trent-based operator is yet to launch its sportsbook in Arizona.

Bet365 reported £61.2m of loss for FY2022-23, though the operator hopes the heavy investment into US expansion that caused the loss will ultimately pay dividends.

Meanwhile, ESPN Bet also launched in Arizona in November, one of 17 states in which the newly branded online sportsbook operated by Penn Entertainment went live. ESPN Bet is the product of Penn’s $1.5bn partnership with Disney-owned ESPN, the largest sports media brand in the US.

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