AZ Sports Betting Landscape Comes Into Focus, With Up To 40 Betting Apps

Posted By Grant Lucas on July 2, 2021

The second set of draft rules for legal sports betting in Arizona have been released. This time around, the regulatory framework provides a clearer picture of the coming industry.

And it could boast one of the most industry-friendly tax rates in the country. But the biggest takeaway, perhaps, is how many mobile skins each licensee could have access to.

According to the 13-page set of draft rules released by the Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) on Thursday, operators in the state could feature two mobile skins. As a result, AZ sports betting could feature up to 40 betting apps.

How many AZ sports betting platforms will each licensee have?

During the public comment period following the release of the first draft of sports betting rules, many stakeholders expressed an interest in having just one mobile skin available per license. This would create a mobile betting landscape of up to 20 betting apps in AZ.

The law does note, and the latest draft rules mention, that licensees may use up to two event wagering platforms.

As noted by Amilyn Pierce of the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first public comment period, that could mean that a licensee may use different platforms for mobile and retail operations rather than launching two online sportsbooks.

However, the ADG confirmed that this provision applies to mobile betting, thus allowing licensees to launch up to two online skins apiece. Here’s that section of the rules:

“Responsible parties may use more than one (1), and up to two (2), event wagering platforms. Responsible parties shall submit a written request to the Department prior to offering a second event wagering platform. The Department shall exercise its discretion in its consideration of the written request for a second event wagering platform. Factors the Department may consider in reaching its determination include: 1. Numbers of responsible parties and authorized event wagering platforms; 2. The introduction of a unique brand or affiliate; 3. The expansion of the patron base in the State; 4. Market size, scope, development, and growth; 5. Advances in technology; and 6. Other factors deemed relevant by the Department or the responsible party.”

How much will sportsbook operators pay for licensing?

Elsewhere in the draft rules, the ADG detailed that the state would tax adjusted gross revenue at an 8% rate for retail sportsbooks and at a 10% rate for mobile betting. In addition, the ADG outlined application, license and renewal fees for operators.

CategoryApplication FeeInitial LicenseAnnual License Fee
Event Wagering Operator$100,000$750,000$150,000
Designee$100,000$750,000$150,000
Limited Event Wagering Operator$5,000$25,000$5,000

Definitions to consider include “event wagering operator,” which includes professional teams and facilities in Arizona as well as gaming tribes in the state.

A “designee” refers to someone acting on behalf of an event wagering operator. This term is applied when an event wagering operator is qualified for licensing. An example of this occurrence coming about could be the case of the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury. Both franchises share Phoenix Suns Arena and are both owned by Robert Sarver.

A while back, the Suns partnered with FanDuel Sportsbook to bring retail and mobile sports betting to the state. And in late June, the Mercury aligned with Bally’s. In order for both teams to participate in the sports betting industry, Sarver would likely appoint a “designee” to act as an event wagering operator for one of the two teams.

The last term listed, “limited event wagering operator,” includes racetracks or other wagering facilities that are permitted by the ADG Division of Racing to accept bets on horse racing.

Sports betting tournaments, forms of payments allowed

Regulators in Arizona also detailed what sports betting operators in the state could offer when the industry launches.

Among them are “event wagering tournaments.”

After submitting rules and procedures for these events to the ADG, operators can set up tournaments for bettors to take part in, with tournaments allowing only the events and wagers approved by regulators.

Regulators also expanded the list of authorized forms of payment accepted by operators. In this round of rules, the ADG included credit cards and wire transfers:

  • Cash
  • Cash equivalent
  • Electronic funds transfer
  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Check
  • Wire transfer
  • Winnings
  • Promotional or bonus credit

Regulators detail self-exclusion, problem gambling requirements

Not to be overlooked, approaches to responsible gambling in Arizona were detailed by the ADG.

Regulators will require operators to post signage near each self-service kiosk at retail sportsbooks. This signage must include a statewide toll-free helpline number and website information for any person experiencing problem gambling or for those who know someone experiencing problem gambling.

Operators must also display messaging on the landing page of each betting app that notes where the public can seek help.

In addition, all advertisements and marketing should include responsible gaming messages and a helpline number.

Regulators also indicated that a self-exclusion list will be available for individuals who wish not to wager on events in Arizona.

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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sports writer who has covered the high school, collegiate and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield and Oregon State athletics, the Portland Trail Blazers and golf throughout his career.

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