After Delay, Arizona Posts Proposed Sports Betting Rules

After Delay, Arizona Posts Proposed Sports Betting Rules
© USA Today

After a one-day delay, draft rules for Arizona sports betting have been posted.

The Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) released Arizona sports betting draft rules on its website Tuesday night. The ADG will be also hosting four open session virtual meetings for stakeholders and the general public to provide a forum for discussion starting on June 18 with sports betting beginning at noon and daily fantasy sports at 4 p.m.

After the weekend, the last two virtual sessions will be on June 21. Public comments will be considered by ADG before the draft rules officially being submitted to the Arizona secretary of state.

The draft rules do leave open four key policy decisions still under consideration by the department (number of skins, licensing and privilege fees, license allocation) and the sessions will be taking feedback on those as well.

Although the U.S. Department of the Interior already approved the state’s updated Tribal gaming compact, the ADG has not yet released info about the application process for possible operators. It is expected that that process will be announced after the comment/feedback period.

The ADG will have up to 60 days to approve or deny a license application from an operator. The latest the department could accept an application for a license would be July 11 if they follow the guidelines and the state’s timeline of full operation by Sept. 9.

In other words, it’s cutting it tight.

Monday Delay

The ADG on Monday announced through its Twitter and email accounts that it hadn’t quite gotten to that point in the process until the announcement late Tuesday that the sports betting rules were posted.

“ADG is on track to meet the targeted ‘go live’ date of Sept. 9 for event wagering in the state. That said, the department is finalizing details for draft event wagering/fantasy sports rules to ensure completeness and accuracy, which will be available for public viewing and comment as soon as this process is complete,” Max Hartgraves, ADG’s public information officer, said in an email and on the organization’s Twitter account Monday night.

After the inspection and comment period has ended, the ADG will have an amendment period and will file any amended rules as necessary, all pointing to the NFL opener as a tentative start date.

Arizona plans to launch sports betting on Sept. 9, the day the NFL kicks off its 2021 season with the Dallas Cowboys visiting the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Arizona Cardinals open their 2021 season in Nashville against the Tennessee Titans on Sept. 12.

Law & Compact Signed

On April 15, Gov. Doug Ducey signed the legislation legalizing sports betting and daily fantasy sports contests and the newly amended Tribal-State Gaming Compacts.

The Arizona law allows for 20 sports betting licenses. Gaming tribes receive 10 and another 10 could go to Arizona professional sports teams or organizations.

The law requires operators of daily fantasy sports contests and sports betting to make help available for those who might have a gambling problem. It also allows individuals to exclude themselves from the new forms of legal wagering if necessary.

The law also adds limited Keno games at off-track betting locations and social clubs (American Legion, Elks Club, etc.) The bill does not allow for Arizona online casinos or online poker.

The U.S. Department of Interior on May 24 announced it had approved the amended Arizona Tribal-State Gaming Compacts.

The approval from the federal government was earlier than expected, and it could help the state hit the intended target date.

Arizona Sportsbook Partnership Deals

Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel have announced sports betting partnerships in the state.

On April 14, DraftKings and the PGA Tour announced an expansion of their existing partnership to provide DraftKings market access for retail and mobile sports betting in Arizona.

FanDuel and the Phoenix Suns announced on April 15 a multiyear partnership making it the Suns’ Official Sportsbook and Daily Fantasy Sports Partner. FanDuel plans to open a retail sportsbook, expected to be completed in time for the start of the 2021-22 NBA season, inside the Phoenix Suns Arena.

The Arizona Diamondbacks and Caesars Entertainment on May 6 announced a partnership for mobile sports betting and a brick-and-mortar sportsbook on the plaza adjacent to Chase Field in downtown Phoenix. It’s near the Suns’ arena giving fans two sportsbooks easily within walking distance.

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