Arizona Sportsbooks Start Customer Sign-Ups Ahead of Planned Sept. 9 Launch

Posted on: August 29, 2021, 11:45h. 

Last updated on: July 26, 2022, 09:32h.

Sports betting has yet to officially begin in Arizona, but sportsbooks that have been awarded licenses have already started preparing for the Sept. 9 launch. They are initiating marketing plans and wooing bettors with early registration bonuses.

Arizona sports betting
Members of the Arizona Diamondbacks stand during the playing of the national anthem prior to a recent game at Chase Field. The MLB team has partnered with Caesars Sportsbook to offer online sports betting to residents across the state starting next month. A brick-and-mortar book will open at the ballpark next year. (Image: Arizona Diamondbacks/Twitter)

That launch is timed to coordinate with the beginning of the upcoming NFL and NCAA football seasons.

The Arizona Department of Gaming announced on Friday it allocated 18 licenses from the 24 qualified applications it received. All eight of the professional sports team and organization applications were approved, as were 10 of the 16 tribal gaming operators. According to House Bill 2772, which Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law on April 15, lawmakers agreed to allow up to 20 licenses to be issued. They were split evenly between tribal operators and pro sports teams.

Those announced as license winners were then allowed to start registering customers through websites and mobile apps on Saturday. Customers were also allowed to make deposits into their accounts, with some operators offering sizeable bonuses or other incentives to sway bettors to install their apps.

Caesars Sportsbook announced four incentives to get Arizona sports bettors on their new app. It was rolled out earlier this month after the Las Vegas-based gaming giant rebranded the William Hill US online sportsbook. That includes a risk-free first bet of up to $5,000 for all users through Sept. 30. Caesars will also give bettors a free NFL jersey if they place a $100 wager on any NFL game through the end of September.

Arizona is the first state where our brand-new Caesars Sportsbook app will be live right as sports betting becomes legalized,” Caesars Digital Co-President Eric Hession said in a statement. “We believe our app is the best in the industry, and we are thrilled to launch with a series of exciting offers that Arizonans can trust.”

While Caesars operates a Harrah’s Casino for the Ak-Chin Indian Community, it received the sports betting license through the Arizona Diamondbacks. The two have agreed to open a two-story sportsbook at Chase Field early next year.

BetRivers, Rattlers Raising Awareness in Arizona

Arizona is not the first state to extend sports betting licenses to professional sports teams. But few have extended the reach as much as the Grand Canyon State. Among the teams getting a license was the Arizona Rattlers. Better known as one of the top teams in the now-defunct Arena Football League, the team now plays in the Indoor Football League.

The Rattlers have huddled up with Rush Street Interactive, which will roll out its BetRivers brand in the state next month. However, Rattlers CEO and Owner Ron Shurts noted in an RSI release that BetRivers branding would be present at the Footprint Center (formerly known as Phoenix Suns Arena) during the Rattlers’ playoff games.

The first of those took place Sunday.

“Arizonans are accustomed to receiving a championship-caliber product on the field with the Rattlers, and we look forward to offering them a similarly high-quality product off the field through our award-winning BetRivers platform and top-notch customer service,” RSI CEO Richard Schwartz said in the statement.

Tribal Lawsuit Filed at Last Minute

While licenses have been approved and operators are making themselves known to bettors, there could be an obstacle to launching in less than two weeks.

Prior to the awards being announced, the Yavapai-Prescott Tribe filed a lawsuit on Thursday in state court. They claimed the legislation goes against state law, which states that any commercial gaming expansion requires approval by a public referendum.

There are 22 federally recognized tribes in the state. Of those, only two do not have an amended and restated gaming compact signed this year by tribal leaders and Ducey. That includes the Yavapai-Prescott.

One of the tribes approved for sports betting was the San Carlos Apache Tribal Gaming Enterprise. WynnBET announced Friday it would serve as the partner for the San Carlos Apache. It marks the seventh state for the Wynn Resorts online gaming product.