Legal sports betting is about to become a reality in Arizona. Legislation passed the state House and Senate, with Gov. Doug Ducey then signing it into law. Anticipation is high for what could be an active and competitive market.
Local favorites such as the Arizona Cardinals and Phoenix Suns will naturally be top attractions at the betting window. There will also be plenty more to consider as the menu at online sportsbooks runs deep.
In this complete guide to sports betting in Arizona, we’ll take a detailed look at what you can expect. From places to play to what you’ll be able to wager on, it’s all here along with much more.
Is Arizona sports betting legal?
Yes, it sure is. Sports betting legislation passed in Arizona in April 2021. Gov. Ducey then signed the bill into law three days later. Now comes the licensing, rule-making, and application process. The Arizona Department of Gaming recently set a timeline that calls for legal sports betting apps in the state by Sept. 9, the onset of the NFL regular season. The rules will be made available for public comment on June 14.
There was a push to legalize wagering in the state for the past several years. The final bill, which also greenlights daily fantasy sports, keno, and a mobile draw game, proposes 20 licenses for sports betting: 10 would go to tribal operators in the state with the other 10 going to Arizona’s professional sports teams.
Arizona sports betting apps
While we’ll have to wait and see how the market officially shakes out, the availability of 20 licenses means there could be plenty of sportsbook apps to consider. Some parties may choose to take care of things in-house, but you can also expect many licensees to hook up with a national sportsbook name to handle betting operations. Here’s a look at the top candidates.
DraftKings Sportsbook is one of the top sportsbooks in a number of legal states. The company invests heavily on the tech side. That becomes readily apparent once you check out the platform, which is filled with features and offers a solid approach to live betting.
William Hill Sportsbook
UK-based William Hill sportsbook continues to make headway across the US. The company has retail locations in a number of states, as well as an excellent app. It also has a lot of experience behind the scenes, and it shows in William Hill’s product offerings.
A joint effort of MGM Resorts International and Entain, BetMGM sportsbook has surged up the charts in states where it operates. The sportsbook provides a range of markets and bet types. It is usually one of the first to arrive in a new market.
In terms of overall volume, FanDuel is the early leader in the US sports betting arms race. A user-friendly app has certainly helped in that regard. FanDuel sportsbook isn’t shy with regular promotions and has brought forth a number of innovations.
BetRivers has gone from being a name to watch in sports betting circles to one that has started making noise. The app looks great and works well. BetRivers sportsbook is also a fan of building loyalty with its iRush Rewards program for users.
PointsBet entered the US marketplace from Australia in 2019. The company has made tremendous strides and become a go-to spot for scores of bettors in legal states since then. Competitive odds and lines and innovative promos are among the top attractions.
Unibet is a big deal in global gambling circles, and its reach across the US continues to expand. The Unibet sports betting app is on the basic side, but still a solid spot for those not too concerned with bells and whistles.
Fox Bet Sportsbook
A tag-team effort launched by media giant Fox Sports and The Stars Group, Fox Bet brings more to the table than just brand name recognition. The platform is super clean and easy to use, and it offers promotional tie-ins with the network to consider.
How to start betting online in Arizona
You’ll be able to get started with online betting in AZ quickly and easily as state law includes a provision for mobile registration. There won’t be any need to visit a brick-and-mortar sportsbook to do so. When creating an account online, here is the info you’ll likely need to provide:
- Email address
- Date of birth
- Last four digits of Social Security number
To register to play, you must be 21 or older. The sportsbook will verify this during the sign-up process. If it has any trouble with that or with verifying your identity, then you will need to provide relevant documents.
There’s no residency requirement for playing, but you’ll need to be located within state lines in order to use Arizona sites and apps. To verify that you are where you say you are, operators use geolocation tracking, which is built into the platform software. If you bet using a web browser, you will be asked to download the geolocation software to your computer.
Once you’ve created your account, you’ll be able to perform all of the same functions that you can at a retail sportsbook, such as funding your account, checking the lines, and placing bets. Sites and apps from top sportsbooks are generally very user-friendly.
How licensing works in Arizona
Following the governor’s signature, the application and licensing process is set to begin. The Arizona Department of Gaming will oversee the new industry and is now tasked with formulating the rules and regulations in the state. Details such as license fees and tax rate are not yet final, but a few points of note have emerged as the process has played out. Here’s what we know for now.
- The bill calls for 20 licenses in total: 10 for tribal operators in Arizona and the rest for the state’s pro sports teams.
- Licenses cover retail and online Tribes that operate multiple gambling locations can operate multiple retail sportsbooks under one license.
- The legislative fiscal note projects $154.4 million in annual taxable revenue at market maturity while using an 8% minimum tax.
- The Senate fiscal note projects $34.2 million in annual general fund revenue by 2024.
The slew of available licenses and overall potential of the market should translate into a very competitive landscape for Arizona sports betting. That’s great news for consumers, as multiple operators jockeying for position will result in solid bonus and promotional offerings as they vie for attention.
Sports betting partnerships in Arizona
As legal sports betting continues to expand across the US, sportsbooks lean on various strategies to make inroads in new markets. One recent trend that has emerged has been pro teams and leagues pairing with sportsbooks. Things have already gotten underway in Arizona, with several parties announcing deals.
- Arizona Cardinals — Gila River Hotels & Casinos: Official hotel and casino partner.
- Phoenix Suns — FanDuel: Sports betting partnership.
- PGA Tour — DraftKings: Pending approval, retail sportsbook at TPC Scottsdale and other marketing opportunities.
- Suns/Phoenix Mercury — Gila River Hotels & Casinos: Amenities and tie-ins across both organizations.
There are no deals in place for the Arizona Diamondbacks or Arizona Coyotes as of yet, but MLB and NHL teams in other areas have climbed on board the partnership train. We’ll consider this to be a situation to watch as the new Arizona sports betting market continues to develop.
Futures and prop betting in Arizona
Pregame bets such as moneyline betting, point spreads and totals generate lots of action at online sportsbooks, but they’re not the only ways to wager. Among the other options, futures and props are two of the most popular.
Futures are wagers that require a long-term perspective. These are bets on results that won’t happen until down the road, such as the winner of a league championship or an individual player award. Here are some top markets for futures betting:
- Super Bowl
- NBA Finals
- World Series
- Stanley Cup
- College Football Playoff
- March Madness
- Golf majors
- Tennis Grand Slams
- Daytona 500
Odds for the top futures will come out in each sport’s offseason. They’re active markets in which the odds will move in response to things like betting action, injury news and what happens on the field. Additional futures market wagers include team win totals for the regular season, conference and division winners and individual award winners.
The ultimate goal of a futures bet is to make the right call so that you can cash in at the end, but there’s another strategy component involved. You’ll want to find your choices at the best possible prices by line shopping, which means comparing the odds at multiple books.
Prop betting is available for individual games and events, but you’ll also find some that revolve around an entire campaign. Examples in the latter category include the NFL player with the most rushing yards or the baseball player to win the National League batting title.
For individual games, you can find the available props by clicking on the individual listing. As a general rule, the more popular the sport, the more props that you’ll find available. Many props revolve around individual player performances:
- How many combined passing and rushing yards for Kyler Murray — over/under 289.5?
- Total points for Phil Kessel — over/under 1.5?
- Who will have more points plus assists — Devin Booker or Kawhi Leonard?
As in our examples, there are props with two choices that will have odds on both sides. There are also multiple-choice props, such as the player to score the first touchdown in an NFL game, which will have odds for all possible selections.
Live betting at Arizona sportsbooks
While sports betting isn’t live in Arizona just yet, we fully expect the range of options to resemble what we’ve seen in other legal states. That includes live betting, which has evolved into one of the most popular ways to wager at online sportsbook apps.
Live betting refers to wagers you can place in real time after the action has gotten underway. Also known as in-game betting, it’s a fast-moving market. The exact offerings and odds will vary based on what’s going on, but here are some examples of what you’ll see.
- Will the Coyotes score a goal on this power play — yes/no?
- Which side will have more rushing yards in the first half — Cardinals or Cowboys?
- How many innings will Madison Bumgarner last — over/under 5?
There will also be updated lines based on what’s happening in the game, so you can use live betting as an opportunity to hedge your initial positions or double down. The top online sportsbooks in Arizona will have sections dedicated to current live betting offerings.
Arizona sports teams to bet on
Arizona has been a highly anticipated market for legal sports betting. The fact that the state is a hotbed for sports certainly enhances the appeal. All four of the major pro leagues have representatives in the state.
- NFL: Arizona Cardinals
- NBA: Phoenix Suns
- MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks
- NHL: Arizona Coyotes
For the above, there will be plenty of pregame bets to consider for all four teams, including moneyline, spreads and totals. You can also dive into the futures market for additional opportunities, and explore what’s available with props and live betting for each contest.
The PGA Tour also makes regular stops in Arizona at TPC Scottsdale, while NASCAR does the same at the Phoenix Raceway. The WNBA is represented by the Phoenix Mercury, while there has been a push for Phoenix Rising FC to be an MLS expansion club.
Arizona will allow betting on college sports with the exception of prop bets. Fans of the University of Arizona and Arizona State football and basketball teams will be able to bet on those contests, and the same will hold true for the top smaller programs in the state.
If local action is your thing, you’ll have plenty of options to consider in Arizona. For those who like to expand their horizons, the same applies as online sportsbooks consistently offer games and events to wager on.
What’s legal and illegal to bet on in Arizona?
Legal sports betting in Arizona will open the doors to many possibilities for fans in the state. If you’re the type who prefers to stick to major sports like the NFL or NBA, you’ll have plenty of wagering opportunities.
For those who like to go deeper down the bench of offerings, you’ll find a list that begins with Australian rules football and includes many sports in the niche category. Not all options will be available at every book, but the top ones generally offer a wide selection.
On bet types, all of the major options will be available. Here are the more popular wagers you’ll come across:
One notable restriction has to do with college sports. You can bet on the outcome of college football and basketball games, but Arizona prohibits proposition bets on college athletes. For other restricted items, we can expect the state to mirror what we’ve seen in other legal states.
- No betting on entertainment-related events like reality TV.
- No wagering on high school sports.
- Those with professional ties to a sport can’t bet on those competitions.
The introduction of legal sports betting has been a game-changer for many states. We fully expect more of the same here. Users will have lots of options to consider, including where they wish to take their business.
Where to bet on sports in Arizona
Arizona sports betting law calls for 20 licenses to be available. It’ll be an even split of 10 apiece for tribal casinos and professional sports organizations. For the latter, stadium or event sites that can host at least 10,000 fans are eligible.
The state will also allow retail sportsbooks within a five-block radius of those venues. We’ll have to wait and see what develops on that front, but here are the stadium and event locations that appear to be no-brainers.
- State Farm Stadium in Glendale: home of the Arizona Cardinals
- Chase Field in Phoenix: home of the Arizona Diamondbacks
- Phoenix Suns Arena in Phoenix: home of the Phoenix Suns
- Gila River Arena in Glendale: home of the Arizona Coyotes
- TPC Scottsdale: host of the Waste Management Phoenix Open
- Phoenix Raceway in Avondale: host for NASCAR races
On the casino side, there are 24 across the state, each operated by one of 16 Native American tribes. It’s unclear how the 10 licenses will shake out on this side, but here are the potential locations.
- Apache Gold Casino Resort, San Carlos
- Apache Sky Casino, Dudleyville
- Blue Water Resort and Casino, Parker
- Bucky’s Casino, Prescott
- Casino Arizona, Scottsdale
- Casino del Sol, Tucson
- Casino of the Sun, Tucson
- Cliff Castle Casino, Camp Verde
- Cocopah Resort Casino, Somerton
- Desert Diamond Casino, Sahuarita
- Desert Diamond Casino West Valley, Glendale
- Desert Diamond Hotel & Casino, Tucson
- Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, Maricopa
- Hon-Dah Resort Casino, Pinetop-Lakeside
- Lone Butte Casino, Chandler
- Mazatzal Casino, Payson
- Paradise Casino, Yuma
- Spirit Mountain Casino, Mohave Valley
- Talking Stick Resort, Scottsdale
- Twin Arrows Casino Resort, Flagstaff
- Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino, Laveen
- We-Ko-Pa Casino, Fort McDowell
- Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino, Chandler
- Yavapai Casino, Prescott
If we look at other legal states as a reference, some casinos may go it alone with their own in-house sportsbooks, while others will ink deals with national vendors. There’s a lot of potential here for sportsbooks, and that will extend into solid offerings for sports bettors.