Prospective Arizona Sports Betting Licensees Seek Online Rules Clarity

Written By Derek Helling on June 25, 2021 - Last Updated on January 30, 2023
The period for Arizona sports betting comments from the public is underway and some interested parties want more clarification.

Before they become final, the potential rules for event wagering in Arizona are subject to scrutiny. The public period for Arizona sports betting regulations comments has produced mostly a list of requests for clarification.

The petitions for elucidation come from a number of potential industry stakeholders. Additionally, the comments present mixed reactions to the pending launch of sportsbooks in AZ.

Arizona sports betting regulations comments

After the AZ Dept. of Gaming (ADG) published its initial draft of the regulations, it opened them up for comment. Interested parties have been able to post their thoughts online. The Department also held two virtual meetings on the subject as well. Among the issues raised in those meetings were:

  • How many online skins a licensee can contract for
  • The procedure for how the Dept. will determine which tribal casino operators get licenses
  • Whether racetracks have to partner with licensees to offer sports betting

Meanwhile, the online comments have echoed those concerns. In fact, some of the same parties took advantage of both forums. For example, Dave Auther, one of the co-owners of Arizona Downs, spoke on behalf of the property at one of the online meetings. Another owner, Tom Auther, submitted similar comments online.

Both Authers “penned” a similar complaint. T. Auther’s online comment stated a preference for the elimination of language that requires an AZ racetrack to partner with a license-holding sports team or tribal casino to offer sports betting.

During Monday’s meetings, D. Auther objected to the same language on the premise of having to share revenue with such a partner. However, ADG Director Ted Vogt was resolute that the department interprets the statute that way. Other online comments addressed disparate issues and come from sources that sports fans in AZ should recognize.

Asking for help on official data, semantics, and skins

A representative for the Arizona Cardinals, Rob Dalager, raised one of the points of clarification. Dalager posited about whether a “designee” could partner with more than one licensee under the regulations. He also expressed that it’s his client’s desire for clarification in the affirmative on that point.

Dalager also presented an issue over the definition of the term “designee.” He expressed an opinion that the current language presents confusion over what exactly a designee can and can’t do within the rules in terms of offering wagering.

Laura McAllister Cox, Vice President of Regulatory Compliance and Legal for Rush Street Gaming (gamblers will know that company better for its Rivers Casino along with BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse online brands) posted several observations. Among them, McAllister Cox requested that the ADG add language to the rules explicitly allowing licensees to use “unofficial” data sources to settle bets.

David Miller, assistant general counsel for the PGA Tour and TPC Scottsdale, chimed in on the designee language and official data as well. However, his point of view was opposed to Cox’s on the data usage. Additionally, Miller stated a belief that the statute intends for each operator to have a single online skin.

Two representatives of tribal casino operators presented contending viewpoints on the single-skin model. Finally, Chad Riney, Senior Counsel for Churchill Downs, asked for a couple of things; that bettors be able to use credit cards to fund accounts and that the ADG establish objective criteria to award limited wagering licenses.

Other comments from less-notable sources expressed opinions less interested in the semantics of the regulations. Apparently, not everyone is happy about this round of gambling expansion in AZ while others are getting impatient for it to happen.

Public truly means public

The comment period has been open to anyone, even people with less of an obvious stake in the business. Thus, the cavalcade of opinions has been varied. For instance, one comment directs several insults at regulators. Another requests that regulators allow DraftKings Sportsbook specifically to go live before Sept. 9.

A final comment of interest is from Jordan Rose, the founder of the Phoenix Rising Football Club. That club plays its home matches in Chandler and is part of the USL. Rose communicates that he believes wagering on Phoenix Rising matches should be permissible since there is no MLS club in AZ.

Soon, all these commenters will get the answers they seek when the ADG releases the final regulations. Regardless of how they feel, they can’t say the department didn’t give them ample opportunity to weigh in.

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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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