PointsBet Steps Into AZ Sports Betting Spotlight Via Cliff Castle Casino Hotel

Written By Derek Helling on July 20, 2021 - Last Updated on January 30, 2023
Pointsbet Partners With Cliff Castle Casino

Thanks to a deal between PointsBet and Cliff Castle Casino Hotel, another piece of the Arizona sports betting puzzle is in place.

A tribal casino operator, the Yavapai-Apache Nation, appears in on applying for an AZ sports betting license, putting Arizona on pace to join the fray of markets where the Australian gambling company is operational.

With final regulations on the horizon, the market is shaping up to be competitive. It isn’t out of the realm of possibility, however, that PointsBet might have to make another plan to get into the state.

A deal for PointsBet Arizona

Cliff Castle Casino Hotel near Camp Verde is potentially providing licensure here for PointsBet Arizona. According to a press release from PointsBet, the Yavapai-Apache Nation will apply for one of 10 licenses allocated for Arizona tribal casino operators.

“Cliff Castle Casino Hotel and PointsBet are excited to partner and initiate our process of offering event wagering in the state of Arizona,” said Aaron Moss, general manager for Cliff Castle.

“PointsBet’s experience and reputation have made them a perfect fit in pursuit of an event wagering license. This partnership allows for Cliff Castle to work alongside PointsBet’s truly first-class brand and product, which we are thrilled to ultimately help make available to the Arizona market.”

The deal will likely include both online sports betting and a retail sportsbook at Cliff Castle Casino Hotel. The brick-and-mortar sportsbook will probably bear PointsBet’s branding. It isn’t clear where on the property the book will reside.

Tribal sports betting licenses at a premium in AZ

If everything goes according to plan, Arizona will be the 16th US jurisdiction for PointsBet. The Yavapai-Apache is the second AZ gambling compact holder to make a deal with a sportsbook. The first was the San Carlos Apache Tribe with WynnBet Sportsbook.

That means two of the 10 licenses are potentially off the board. It’s no guarantee that either casino operator will actually get a license, however. But these partnerships could help in that endeavor.

“PointsBet and our partners at Cliff Castle are proud to begin the process toward offering our differentiated sports betting product and world-class technology to fans all over Arizona,” said Johnny Aitken, PointsBet USA CEO.

“We welcome the opportunity to quickly and responsibly introduce prospective sports bettors to the customer-focused, market-leading PointsBet experience, where our proprietary technology platform, unrivaled speed, ease of use, and deep slate of the most betting options in the world will disrupt the market for the better.”

How PointsBet could help with licensure

The latest addition to the proposed rules from the Arizona Department of Gaming includes protocols for allocating licenses. It details how the department will award licenses if there are more eligible applicants than available licenses.

In that regard, experience will count. That’s where having a partnership with a sportsbook can aid this cause greatly. PointsBet not only operates in 15 other US jurisdictions but also around the globe. Thus, the Yavapai-Apache application could grade higher on experience should it have to compete for a license.

If the Yavapai-Apache application is denied, though, PointsBet might also be on the outside looking in. PointsBet could try to contract with a different tribal group or an Arizona sports property, such as the Arizona Cardinals or Arizona Coyotes. However, it’s possible that those licensees might already have those partnerships in place.

The state is still targeting Sept. 9 as a go-live date. So the time for PointsBet to pivot might be minimal. At this point, the fates of the two companies are intertwined.

Whether PointsBet gets that opportunity depends on the Yavapai-Apache Nation securing a license. At the same time, aligning with PointsBet might make that more probable.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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