Arizona racetracks and off-track betting sites get sports betting licenses

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Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

The Arizona Department of Gaming (ADOG) has granted 10 licenses to companies that do not qualify for full sports betting to administer physical sports betting.

  • They were awarded at the Turf Paradise horse racing tracks in North Phoenix and Arizona Downs in Prescott Valley, seven bars on the Phoenix subway 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 personal and mobile betting.

  • However, the law included 10 Limited Events Betting Operator (LEWO) licenses for racetracks and other companies offering off-track betting.

Yes but: Personal sports betting accounts for just a fraction of the bets placed in Arizona.

  • In March, which is a big sports betting month due to the NCAA basketball tournament, mobile betting accounted for more than 99% of the $691 million wagered in Arizona, according to a monthly report by ADOG.
  • Some of the professional sports franchises and licensed tribes also have physical locations, including the BetMGM Sportsbook that recently opened at State Farm Stadium.
  • Nearly $2 million in bets were placed at bookmakers operated by professional organizations and tribes in July, compared to about $289,000 at establishments with LEWOs.

What are they saying: “Retail is definitely more on the niche side of sports betting right now,” ADOG spokesman Max Hartgraves told Axios. “It definitely has a certain type of clientele that would probably prefer this type of retail sports betting.”

What we’re watching: Turf Paradise, believing it should qualify for a full sports franchise license, sued the Gaming Department 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 joined the department.

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