Photo By James Franks/Cronkite News: Once sports gambling becomes legal in Arizona on Sept. 9, fans can walk up to places like the FanDuel Sportsbook at Footprint Center, or they can bet from home on apps.
By Prince James Story/Cronkite News
PHOENIX– Saturday presented another milestone for Arizonans interested in placing bets on sporting events: online pre-registration.
That’s when betting organizations including DraftKings and FanDuel launched their Arizona sites. They are enticing new members who register between Saturday and Sept. 9 with rewards for early registration.
Although daily fantasy sports wagering went live Saturday, single-game sports betting in Arizona will be available on Sept. 9, the first day of the NFL season. Early registration, which began at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, will allow gamblers to get a head start by depositing money in their accounts. Other licensed fantasy sports operators in the state, according to the Arizona Department of Gaming, are FFPC, Yahoo, Fantasy Sports Shark, and Underdog Sports.
Apps will make these sites particularly convenient and offer options including “in-play betting, which is the ability to bet throughout the game,” said Dan Shapiro, chief development officer for Caesars Digital. “So you can jump in at any point in the game and bet on the final outcome of the game.”
Analysis from the Arizona State Legislature provides insight into how much money the government thinks it can generate via legal sports betting. Analysts projected total annual sports betting revenue of $15.2 million by 2024.
BetMGM has partnered with the Arizona Cardinals, DraftKings has teamed with TPC Scottsdale, and FanDuel with the Phoenix Suns. Caesars Arizona is working with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tuesday announced a partnership with the Fiesta Bowl. The Mercury is partnered with Ballys, Phoenix Speedway with Penn National, and the Arizona Rattlers with Rush Street Interactive. Ten tribal licenses have also been allocated.
Since 2018, 22 states have legalized sports gambling. Nine additional states have passed legislation to move forward with sports gambling, but regulators are still in the process of approving operators, according to Sportsbettingdime.com.
A recent study commissioned by BetArizona.com found that nearly one in five Arizona residents have placed bets on offshore or out-of-state sites.
Once sports betting launches on Sept. 9, the study estimates an increase of 280,000 new bettors in Arizona.
One in five “who identified themselves as sports fans plan to wager on sports daily. More so, over half (54%) of Arizona sports fans plan to wager at least weekly on their favorite sporting events,” the study said.
Retired Hall of Fame college football coach Steve Spurrier expressed mixed feelings about the legalization of sports gambling at the Fiesta Bowl Kickoff Luncheon earlier this week.
“Man, that used to be a terrible vice, didn’t it? And it’s a terrible vice for people who don’t handle it that well, but so is drinking and so is drugs and everything else,” Spurrier said. “So, if you can handle gambling, well it’s legal now so hopefully, people will handle gambling correctly.”
Anticipation continues to grow as the start date of Sept. 9 nears. NFL fans can place bets on Thursday Night Football when the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers face off against “America’s Team,” the Dallas Cowboys.
“I can’t thank the public and stakeholders enough for their feedback and collaboration throughout the event wagering and fantasy sports implementation process,” Ted Vogt, Department of Gaming Director, said in a statement. “This partnership, as well as the hard work of Department staff, has allowed Arizona to be one of the fastest states to operationally start these new games since the passing of the enabling legislation. I am proud of the hard work by all to accomplish this feat and excited to see Arizonans responsibly enjoy legal fantasy sports starting tomorrow, 8/28, as well as event wagering on 9/9.”