The Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) made an announcement on Tuesday that they will start accepting new event wagering licenses in February, marking a significant step in the state’s sports betting industry.
Arizona tribes will be allotted one license each, and the state plans to reserve at least one license for sports franchises within the state. The application window for interested parties will be open from February 16 to March 4. The ADG will later announce the qualification determinations for selected applicants in March. In the event that there are more qualified applicants than available licenses, the ADG will review each application and notify those selected for allocation.
This development comes in the wake of a surge in Arizona’s sports betting activity in the latter half of 2023. In October 2023 alone, close to $650 million was wagered on sports, reflecting a 4.8% increase compared to the same month in 2022, and a 6.2% increase compared to September 2023. Mobile betting dominated the total wagering landscape, accounting for nearly 99% of betting turnover, while retail wagering only accounted for $5.4 million.
Leading online sportsbooks DraftKings and FanDuel each reported around $220 million in mobile gaming turnover, with FanDuel emerging as the top retail bookmaker, generating $2.1 million in revenue.
The Arizona sports betting market is poised for further expansion, as the state previously limited the issuance of event wagering licenses to 20, with 10 reserved for tribes and another 10 for sports-related entities. Additionally, 10 limited event wagering licenses were available for racetrack enclosures or other betting facilities. In 2023, several operators, such as Bet365 and ESPN Bet, secured licenses to operate in Arizona, with Bet365 reporting significant financial investment in US expansion efforts. ESPN Bet, a newly branded online sportsbook operated by Penn Entertainment, also launched in Arizona as part of its widespread deployment in 17 states.