Legal sports betting in Arizona is just around the corner

A variety of sports books will open in September, allowing legal wagering in Arizona


Joe Glorioso (All-Pro Reels)

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Before a landmark 2018 Supreme Court ruling, sports betting was legal only in Nevada. But now, it is legal in about half of the United States — and recently, that total came to include Arizona.

The target launch date for Arizona’s sports betting operations is Thursday, Sept. 9, which is the opening night of the 2021 NFL season. Tom Brady and the defending NFL champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the Dallas Cowboys that night.

There are 20 sports betting licenses available under Arizona’s new law — 1o at tribal casinos and 10 at sports-related venues, such as the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field and the Arizona Cardinals’ State Farm Stadium. Options to bet will include phone apps that each licensee is permitted to run in addition to their physical location.

Certainly, not all 20 sports books will be operating on Sept. 9. But some will be up and running, ready to  take Arizona’s first legal sports bets.

Meanwhile, Arizona daily fantasy sports operations are set to start even sooner.

Daily fantasy has been around for over a decade, and unlike straight sports betting, it has been legal in most of the U.S.

Arizona had been one of only six states prohibiting DFS operations.

Now, FanDuel and DraftKings, the two largest DFS operators, will be available for widespread use in the state beginning Aug. 28.

Some sports betting partnerships have already emerged as Arizona readies itself for legal gambling. These include DraftKings and TPC Golf in Scottsdale, and another between FanDuel and the Phoenix Suns. In addition, there is now a three-way partnership between Gila River Casinos, MGM Grand and the Cardinals.