Sep 21, 2022 - Sports

Your neighborhood Arizona sportsbook is open for business

Illustration of the football, money tongue, and basketball emojis.
Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

The Arizona Department of Gaming (ADOG) granted 10 licenses for businesses that don't qualify for full sports wagering to run brick-and-mortar sportsbooks.

  • They were awarded to horse racing tracks Turf Paradise in north Phoenix and Arizona Downs in Prescott Valley, seven bars in metro Phoenix and one in Tucson.

Details: Under the 2021 law that legalized sports betting in Arizona, only professional sports teams and franchises and Native American tribes qualify for licenses that allow both in-person and mobile betting.

  • However, the law included 10 limited-event wagering operator (LEWO) licenses for racetracks and other businesses that offer off-track betting.

Yes, but: In-person wagering at sportsbooks accounts for only a fraction of the bets placed in Arizona.

  • In March, which is a major sports gambling month due to the NCAA basketball tournament, mobile bets made up more than 99% of the $691 million wagered in Arizona, according to an ADOG monthly report.
  • Some of the professional sports franchises and tribes with licenses also have brick-and-mortar locations, including the BetMGM Sportsbook that recently opened at State Farm Stadium.
  • Nearly $2 million in bets were placed at sportsbooks operated by professional organizations and tribes in July, compared to about $289,000 at establishments with LEWOs.

What they're saying: "Retail is definitely more of the niche side of sports betting at the moment," ADOG spokesperson Max Hartgraves tells Axios. "It definitely has a certain type of clientele that probably prefers that retail-type sportsbook."

What we're watching: Turf Paradise, believing it should qualify for a full sports franchise license, has sued the Department of Gaming for rejecting its application.

  • TP Racing, which owns Turf Paradise, appealed to the Arizona Court of Appeals after an administrative law judge and a Maricopa County Superior Court judge sided with the department.
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