Arizona gaming officials said Monday their sports gambling rules have been finalized and everything is on track for event wagering to go live on Sept. 9, opening day of the NFL season.
The Arizona Department of Gaming said it submitted its final rules for event betting and fantasy sports to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office, setting the stage for a groundbreaking sports gambling expansion to be implemented less than five months after it was authorized by lawmakers.
Fantasy sports operations are scheduled to go live Aug. 28.
With the rules being submitted, the license application period begins. Initial applications must be submitted by Aug. 4 for fantasy sports and Aug. 9 for event wagering.
The applicants who qualify for licensure are scheduled to be announced Aug 16.
The NFL kicks off the 2021 season on Sept. 9 with a Thursday night game between the Dallas Cowboys and defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
On April 15, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a new tribal gaming compact and associated legislation to legalize sports betting pending the creation and approval of rules. The deal also allows the state’s Native American tribes to expand their casino gambling offerings and offer sports and fantasy betting.
The plan calls for a maximum of 20 event wagering licenses, 10 for Native American tribes and 10 for professional sports organizations. Another 10 limited event wagering licenses are available for racetracks and off-track betting facilities.
Three of the state’s sports teams have already entered partnerships with gaming entities: the Arizona Diamondbacks with Caesars Entertainment, the Phoenix Suns with FanDuel and the Phoenix Mercury with Bally’s. Additionally, the PGA Tour and TPC Scottsdale are teaming with DraftKings, while NASCAR and Phoenix Raceway have joined with Penn National Gaming on a deal that includes a Barstool Sportsbook.
In addition to the new sports and online betting, the tribes can now greatly expand their exclusive gambling offerings, adding games such as baccarat and craps and increasing the number of slot machines while maintaining existing offerings of blackjack and poker.