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Arizona Department of Gaming opens new event wagering application window

| By Jill R. Dorson
The Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) will accept event wagering applications between 8 July and 19 July, the agency announced on Friday (7 June). The application window will close at 5pm local time on the 19 July. There are currently 17 operators live in the state and state law allows for up to 20 digital platforms.
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The ADG will consider a minimum of one event wagering application each for a tribal casino and professional sports franchise.

In Arizona, event wagering operators must be tethered to a professional sports franchise or Indian tribe. The law allows for 10 licences each for pro sports venues and tribes. Nine tribal licences are spoken for, and eight of the pro-franchise licences have been issued. That means there is one tribal licence and two pro-franchise licences available.

A key question is whether or not there are anymore professional sports venues that could even qualify for a licence under the law.

Will anyone apply for pro-franchise licence?

The NFL Arizona Cardinals (BetMGM), NHL Phoenix Coyotes (SaharaBet), MLB Arizona Diamondbacks (Caesars Sportsbook), AFL Arizona Rattlers (BetRivers), WNBA Phoenix Mercury (Bally Bet), Phoenix Speedway (ESPN Bet), NBA Phoenix Suns (FanDuel) and TPC Scottsdale (DraftKings) are all licensed.

The Coyotes remain licensed even though the team has moved to Utah.

Previously, the United Soccer League’s Phoenix Rising applied for a licence, but the ADG determined it didn’t meet the specifications set out by law. The team applied and was denied during the original event wagering application window in 2021. It later declined to apply again in 2023. It is unclear what other professional sports teams that play at the highest level in the state could qualify.

Since Fanatics Sportsbook launched in partnership with the Tonto Apache tribe in April, every major US operator is live in Arizona.

Tribal licence likely to have at least one applicant

It is more likely that any operator that wants to get into the state will partner with a tribe. When event wagering first went live in Arizona, all 10 licences were issued and many tribes were left without.

Since then, several tribes have lost partners due to market consolidation and other factors. The Tonto Apache lost its original partner when TwinSpires exited the market. The Ak-Chin Indian Community (Bet365) lost its original partner when Fubo Sportsbook shuttered.

The Quechan tribe of the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation are the most recent to lose a partner when Unibet announced it would exit the state.

In every licensing round, if a tribal licence were available, there were applications.

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