Arizona becomes new sports betting market for Fanatics Sportsbook

Fanatics Arizona
Image: Fanatics Betting & Gaming

Arizona is preparing to welcome a new operator to its regulated sports betting market.

The Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) announced on Friday that it has issued an event wagering operator license to Fanatics Betting & Gaming in partnership with the Tonto Apache Tribe. The federally recognized tribe is benefiting from the ADG’s declaration in January to award one new event wagering license to a state tribe. The Tonto Apache Tribe had previously partnered with TwinSpires in Arizona, which exited sports betting in 2023.

Fanatics’ looming market presence in Arizona brings its total reach to over 15 states with regulated wagering. The emerging operator is steadily expanding behind its $225 million acquisition of PointsBet’s U.S. business, a deal that closed in October 2023.

Fanatics is poised to drive profits in Arizona as the state reported a $706.3 million sports betting handle in January. The results marked Arizona’s second-highest handle since 2021.

The accepted wagers, led by online bets, generated $69.3 million in revenue.

Previous deal dissolved for Fanatics

The ADG has awarded Fanatics a wagering license despite opposition from a Tucson Indoor Football League team. Last month, the Tucson Sugar Skulls filed a restraining order to block Fanatics from securing an event wagering license in Arizona after the ADG announced that it would be accepting new applications.

The Sugar Skulls and Fanatics had previously secured a deal to seek a wagering license in Arizona in 2023 but the two entities were denied because the team’s home stadium has a capacity under 10,000. The Sugar Skulls claim they were not notified that Fanatics wanted a retail sportsbook. The team believes had it only sought online operations a license would have been approved.

Fanatics and the Sugar Skulls continued to work toward a license until their contractual agreement expired last October. Fanatics would then decide to partner with a tribe.

The operator joins Bally’s, bet365, BetMGM, ESPN Bet and others in Arizona.