BetMGM Teaming Up With Gila River And Cardinals For AZ Betting

Written By Martin Harris on August 9, 2021

Arizona sports betting is currently on the fast track to launch in time for the start of the National Football League season one month from now. Add BetMGM Sportsbook to the list of potential operators once it does.

On Monday BetMGM announced new partnerships with Arizona-based Gila River Hotels & Casinos and the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals. The agreements position BetMGM potentially to bring its sports betting platform to Arizona once sports betting goes live this fall.

BetMGM aims to go online first, open retail in 2022

BetMGM announced its intention to open retail sportsbooks at Gila River properties in Arizona. BetMGM also plans to open a sportsbook at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, home of the Cardinals.

The Gila River Indian Community operates three hotel-casinos in the state. One is Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino in Laveen Village. The other two are in Chandler, Lone Butte Casino and Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino. The tribe is currently exploring building a fourth casino, also in Chandler.

The three Gila River properties “will feature custom-built BetMGM Sportsbooks, set to open near football season,” explains BetMGM.

BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt described Gila River Hotels & Casinos and the Cardinals as “ideal partners” for the company in Arizona.

“There is no doubt in my mind these three industry-leading brands unifying will deliver the ultimate experience in Arizona sports betting,” said Kenneth Manuel, CEO Gila River Hotels & Casino.

The announcement notes how the Gila River tribe and the Cardinals have worked together many times in the past already.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to build upon our long-standing relationship with Gila River,” added Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwell. He added how the new retail sportsbook at the stadium will provide “a new and innovative way to engage and interact with our fans.”

As noted, BetMGM looks to open its first AZ sportsbooks at the Gila River properties “near football season.” Meanwhile, the company has a less-hurried timetable for opening one at State Farm Stadium. According to the announcement, for the latter BetMGM is “targeting opening in time for the 2022 NFL season.”

Race is on in Arizona to launch sports betting by September

Arizona only just legalized sports betting in April 2021. Doing so also involved renegotiating and amending the tribal-state gaming compacts. The new compacts received federal approval in late May. The Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) then drafted and finalized regulations for sports betting by late July.

The new law authorizes up to 20 sports betting licenses total. Of those, 10 are for the state’s federally recognized tribes and 10 for Arizona professional sports franchises and venues. BetMGM’s partnerships with both the Gila River Indian Community and the Arizona Cardinals therefore affords the operator multiple points of entry into the state.

Interestingly, while there are fewer than 10 pro sports teams in the state, there are more than two dozen tribes, many of which are vying for sports betting licenses.

The ADG is currently accepting applications from would-be license holders. The hope is to complete that process including all necessary reviews and testing in time to issue licenses and enable sportsbooks to launch by Sept. 9, the first day of the 2021 NFL season.

Photo by AP / Ross D. Franklin
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