Published: May 27, 2021

Arizona sports betting deal approved by Department of Interior, now legal in state

You can now legally gamble on sporting events and fantasy sports in Arizona.

The U.S. Department of Interior approved the amended tribal-state gaming compact on Monday, finalizing an agreement signed last month by Governor Doug Ducey and the state’s tribal leaders.

“Gaming creates thousands of jobs for Arizonans, it generates tax revenue that benefits key areas of our communities, and it draws visitors to our state,” Ducey said in a statement announcing the approval. “The tribal-state gaming compact amendment, along with its associated legislation, was the culmination of a multi-year process and I was proud to work with all the stakeholders on this historic accomplishment. The tribal-state gaming compact and its associated legislation now is officially in effect — thank you to everyone who worked to make this happen!”

Under the deal, major professional sports groups will be able to offer wagering on pro sports like the NFL and NBA.

Online fantasy sports operations like DraftKings can piggyback on the licenses.

The Arizona Diamondbacks and Caesars Entertainment announced a partnership earlier this month to launch mobile sports betting in Arizona and build a sportsbook in the plaza adjacent to Chase Field. 

The deal grants Caesars mobile sports betting market access and exclusive sponsorship in sports betting for the Diamondbacks. The agreement is part of a multiyear deal with Major League Baseball to make Caesars on authorized gaming operator for the league. 

The Phoenix Suns have announced the team will partner with FanDuel to bring a sportsbook to Phoenix Suns Arena.

And the TPC Scottsdale, home of the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament, announced it was partnering with DraftKings to open a sportsbook at the facility.

The approval by the Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs was the last cog needed for the gambling options to be fully legal in the state. Pro teams will need to get state-issued licenses and set up operations. Backers of the legislation hope that is possible by the start of the NFL season this fall. 

The deal the Republican governor signed with the tribes also allows them to expand their casino gambling offerings and offer sports and fantasy betting.

The tribes fiercely protected their exclusive right to most gambling in Arizona under the gaming compact approved by the state's voters in 2002 and will continue to get that protection under the new deal. 

In addition to the new sports and online betting, the tribes can now greatly expand their exclusive gambling offerings, adding games such as Baccarat and craps and increasing the number of slot machines while maintaining existing offerings of blackjack and poker. 

The Diamondbacks' sportsbook will include a sports bar and broadcast studio at the space formerly known as Game 7 Grill. 

The Suns' retail sportsbook in the arena is expected to be ready for the 2021-22 NBA season.

The arena's FanDuel sportsbook is projected to be at least 6,300 square feet and have "spacious" lounge seating where fans can watch Suns games and other games while placing wagers. It will be open daily to place wagers on events throughout the year.

The TPC Scottsdale announcement called for a “visually stunning ’19th hole’ experience” where gamblers can place bets year-round.

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