The Journal Gazette
Friday, September 10, 2021 1:00 am

Sports betting starts in Arizona

Coincides with beginning of NFL

Associated Press

PHOENIX – Arizona's first sports betting operations opened for business Thursday in time for the start of the NFL season, with live wagers being taken on college and professional sports online and at two retail locations in Phoenix.

The FanDuel Sportsbook at the downtown Phoenix arena where the Phoenix Suns play and temporary betting windows just down the street at the Arizona Diamondbacks' Chase Field run by Caesars Entertainment took in-person bets.

The action was made possible by a law enacted by the legislature and signed by Republican Gov, Doug Ducey this spring.

Before the law was passed, gambling other than old-school contests such as Bingo run for charities was banned except at casinos run by Native American tribes.

Arizona now joins more than half the states in allowing betting on sports, just three years after it was allowed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The state hopes to pull in tens of millions of dollars in annual revenue from legalized gambling.

The governor's office negotiated new agreements with the tribes to allow betting on live and fantasy sports. In exchange, they were allowed to expand their table game and slot machine offerings and run their own sports books at their casinos.

Ten tribes also won licenses to take sports bets online. Online fantasy sports wagering became legal late last month, with Arizona being one of the few states where it was still banned.

Seven of the 18 tribes or sports teams that were awarded licenses last month were able to take online bets Thursday.

In many ways, the online licenses are much more valuable than being able to run a traditional sports book at a tribal casino or at or near a professional sports team's stadium. That's because online operations can run around the clock with little overhead and aren't limited to gamblers physically being in a venue.

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