Arizona inviting more sportsbooks to apply for betting licenses

Arizona inviting more sportsbooks to apply for betting licenses
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Arizona is ready to add more sports betting operators to its market.

The Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) announced on Friday that it will open up its licensing process again to accept applications for event wagering licenses between July 8 and July 19. It will issue at least one sports betting license reserved for Arizona tribes and at least one reserved for Arizona sports teams.

The Grand Canyon State can allocate a maximum of 20 sports betting licenses under state regulations. It currently has 17 of those slots filled, eight of which are tied to sports teams and nine to tribes. When Arizona undertook the initial licensing around the opening of the online sports wagering market in September 2021, it maxed out the allocation of tribal licenses.

However, with some operators such as Fubo, WynnBET, Unibet and TwinSpires leaving the market over the last two-and-a-half years, some slots had reopened and been reassigned.

Other operators have swooped in to fill the gap. Fubo’s license was taken up by bet365, which was licensed in partnership with the Ak-Chin Indian Community and launched in the state in February. Then, in April, Fanatics Sportsbook began Arizona operations through an agreement with the Tonto Apache Tribe, owner and operator of the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino.

That Fanatics launch meant that Arizona had maxed out its 10 sportsbook licenses tethered to tribal partners. It is now adding at least one more to that pool. Meanwhile, only eight out of the 10 licenses tied to sports teams are currently used, so the increased allocation means there will soon be three going spare.

Who could be next?

Arizona is one of 11 states to surpass $1 billion in gross operator sports betting revenue and one of nine to record more than $16 billion in all-time sports betting handle.

Mobile sports betting in the state took a monthly record $760 million in bets in March, an 18% increase year-over-year and the third month in a row that it has eclipsed the $700 million mark.

It’s an increasingly crowded jurisdiction. FanDuel and DraftKings hold nearly 70% of the market at the last count, with FanDuel the market leader in both handle and gross gaming revenue. Recent new entrants have proven there is still space to make an impact, though, as bet365 ranked fifth with $29.3 million and ESPN Bet sat sixth with a $26.9 million handle for March.

As for who could be next, Prime Sportsbook executive chairman Joe Brennan Jr. has suggested Arizona’s proximity to the Vegas Strip and its proximity to the likes of the vastly populated but closed market of Southern California are highly advantageous.

Arizona also levies just 10% tax on mobile sports betting, one of the lowest rates in the country, another alluring factor for prospective licensees.