Arizona’s newly passed new sports betting bill authorizes the state’s professional teams to open sportsbooks at their venues. Some teams have already lined up operators. The Arizona Cardinals will certainly have a sportsbook as well at State Farm Stadium, but who will operate it?
While hardly as certain as Kyler Murray starting under center this fall, there are at least a couple of candidates currently standing out among the Cardinals’ possible sports betting partners.
BetMGM could add Cardinals to growing list of NFL partners
Among the potential choices, count BetMGM as a contender to run an Arizona Cardinals sportsbook, primarily because of the operator’s demonstrated eagerness thus far to partner with other NFL teams.
BetMGM’s deal-making activity can be explained in part by its status as the most prominent outcast from the group of sportsbooks with whom the National Football League has signed sports betting partnerships.
In April, the NFL announced it had reached multi-year agreements with three US sportsbooks to serve as the league’s “tri-exclusive” sports betting partners:
Left to its own devices, BetMGM has hardly sat idly by on the sidelines. To date BetMGM has partnered with no less than seven NFL franchises. Those teams include:
- Baltimore Ravens
- Denver Broncos
- Detroit Lions
- New York Jets
- Las Vegas Raiders
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Tennessee Titans
Baltimore was the most recent team joining the BetMGM’s list of partners. The announcement of the Ravens-BetMGM agreement just came on Wednesday, one day after Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed the state’s new sports betting bill into law.
BetMGM and the Cardinals franchise have no prior agreements, making a future partnership entirely a matter of speculation.
Existing relationship with Gila River Hotels & Casinos in the mix
On the other hand, the Cardinals do already have one existing relationship with a gambling partner.
In 2019, the franchise announced it had expanded its already existing relationship with Gila River Hotels & Casinos, making the Arizona-based chain its official hotel and casino partner.
Owned and operated by the Gila River Indian Community, Gila River Hotels & Casinos is comprised of three properties: the Wild Horse Pass and Lone Butte casinos in Chandler, and the Vee Quiva casino in Laveen.
So far the Gila River partnership has primarily involved fan-focused giveaways and promotions, as well as other initiatives designed to promote and support the Gila River Indian Community.
Whether that partnership could further expand to incorporate a new State Farm Stadium sportsbook remains to be seen.
Other Arizona teams, venues with sports betting deals in place
The state’s new sports betting law authorizes sports betting licenses for up to 10 professional franchises. Additionally, Arizona’s federally recognized tribes can claim up to 10 more licenses.
Last month the Phoenix Suns partnered with FanDuel to run their sportsbook at Phoenix Suns Arena. Two weeks ago, the Arizona Diamondbacks likewise partnered with Caesars to operate a sportsbook at Chase Field.
Before those agreements, DraftKings and the TPC Scottsdale golf complex forged a similar partnership shortly after Arizona sports betting became legal.
Whoever the Arizona Cardinals choose to operate their sportsbook, the decision will probably come sooner than later. Given the significant preparation and paperwork involved with getting a new sportsbook up and running, the franchise likely won’t until just before Murray takes his first snap this fall to act.