In October 2022, FuboTV shut down its sports betting operations. Fubo Sportsbook was live in Arizona, and its shutdown diminished the state’s online sportsbook count from 18 to 17.
Arizona sports betting allows for up to 20 individual operators. With Fubo out and spots still available, which operator(s) might launch a sportsbook in Arizona?
Understanding the Arizona sports betting market
Arizona sports betting law allows for up to 20 sports betting licenses. 10 sports franchises and 10 tribes are allowed to partner with sportsbook operators. Currently, the list includes the following sportsbooks:
|Sportsbook||Franchise Partner||Tribal Partner|
|Bally Bet||Phoenix Mercury||N/A|
|BetMGM||Arizona Cardinals||Gila River Indian Community|
|Sahara Bets||Arizona Coyotes||N/A|
|WynnBET||N/A||San Carlos Apache Tribe|
|Unibet||N/A||Fort Yuma Quechan Indian Tribe|
|TwinSpires||N/A||Tonto Apache Tribe|
|Betfred||N/A||Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation|
|Desert Diamond||N/A||Tohono O'odham Nation|
|Hard Rock||N/A||Navajo Nation|
|Betway||N/A||San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe|
|Golden Nugget||N/A||Hualapai Tribe|
|SuperBook||N/A||Fort Mojave Indian Tribe|
The Ak-Chin Indian Community was originally partnered with Fubo Sportsbook.
Most of the major, well-known sports betting brands are already I’ve in Arizona. It’s less a question of who will take the final license and more of a “Who’s left?” Turns out there are a few possible contenders.
Who could snag the last license?
Your guess is as good as mine, but a few frontrunners emerge when you start to look at operators with sportsbooks in other legal states that might want a slice of the Arizona market.
In the early aughts of Arizona sports betting, PointsBet forged a partnership with the Yavapai-Apache Nation and Cliff Castle Casino Hotel. That market access never translated to a sportsbook launch, however. The Arizona Department of Gaming declined to grant the Yavapai-Apache Nation a sports betting license, shunting PointsBet’s progress toward an Arizona launch. The company actively sought other routes to AZ sports betting, but none came to fruition.
Had you asked us a few weeks ago, PointsBet would’ve been the top contender for an Arizona license. But recent events have thrown a wrench into that prediction.
Fanatics, a sports merchandise company, reached a deal to acquire PointsBet’s US assets for $150 million. The announcement is still fresh, so Fanatics’ intentions are unclear. Will it keep PointsBet’s existing sportsbooks in the US as is? Will it shutter the PointsBet brand and relaunch as Fanatics sportsbook? There are a lot of unknowns.
Among those unknowns is Fanatics’ intentions to pursue new market opportunities. For a company valued at nearly $30 billion, finding new states for its freshly-acquired sportsbook product seems like a no-brainer. Still, it’s hard to say whether Fanatics will act fast enough to scoop up an Arizona license. I consider it unlikely unless other operators drag their feet for a year or two.
From its roots in print media (where it dominated the sports writing space for many years), Sports Illustrated has successfully made the leap to the digital era. Sports Illustrated sportsbook launched in Colorado in 2021, then in Virginia and Michigan in 2022.
Considering Sports Illustrated’s efforts to launch in established markets, Arizona seems like a natural next step. The company hasn’t confirmed or even hinted at intentions to launch in the state, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
UK-based Bet365 made the leap across the pond with launches in New Jersey, Colorado, Ohio, and Virginia. The operator also has sights set on Pennsylvania. Bet365 originally had a partnership in place for Massachusetts sports betting, but it fell through.
Bet365 seems to have its eyes on any market, new or old. Arizona could be a solid play for a European operator looking to play catch-up in the US market share game.
Betr was originally billed as a “micro betting” platform but has since expanded to include core sports betting markets. Famously co-founded by Jake Paul, the brand has a footprint in Ohio, Massachusetts and a partnership in Indiana.
The self-proclaimed disruptive company is likely to pursue licenses in any legal state as it builds from start-up to established sports betting juggernaut. A sports betting state like Arizona should be on its radar.
Many other brands are expanding their US footprints in the sports betting market, including Tipico and PlayUp. With so many companies fighting for a chunk of the US sports betting revenue, it’s near impossible to properly guess who will come to Arizona next.
Will TwinSpires free up another license?
Fubo’s exit left a gaping hole in the market, but could another open up? TwinSpires announced its departure from the sportsbook business to focus on its online horse racing business. It sunsetted sports betting in a few states, but online sports betting in Arizona remains live. It’s unclear whether TwinSpires intends to shut down sports betting and continue operating its racing platform as part of its existing partnership with the Tonto Apache Tribe.
Should TwinSpires exit the market fully, that’s one more available license up for grabs in the Grand Canyon State. Time will tell.