Arizona Hits Target Launch Date and More Sports Betting News and Notes


An attempt to stall Arizona’s sports betting launch on Sept. 9, 2021, was refused by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge James Smith on Labor Day.

“Plaintiff did not cite language from the proposition indicating that Arizona would never expand gambling to different activities or locations,” Judge Smith wrote, as reported by the Associated Press. “What is more, the proposition contemplated gambling expansions.”

The Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe, which brought the lawsuit, had argued the law was unconstitutional.

Judge Smith’s ruling that likely will be appealed by the tribe now puts sports betting back on track in the state. Gamblers could place wagers beginning at 12:01 a.m. local time on Sept. 9. Many of the major operators like DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars, and Barstool Sportsbook will have their respective online platforms ready on Day One.

Of those sportsbooks, here are the main ones offering to new customers:

  • DraftKings: Bet $1 on any Week 1 NFL game and receive a $200 bonus regardless of you bet’s outcome. Broken into eight, $25 free bets
  • FanDuel: $100 in credits. $75 for sportsbook and $25 for daily fantasy sports
  • BetMGM: $200 in free bets for signing up. No deposit required to receive four, $50 free bets
  • Caesars: Risk-free first bet up to $5,000 refunded if your initial wager loses
  • Barstool Sportsbook: Risk-free first bet up to $1,000 refunded if your initial wager loses

Government analysis from the Arizona State Legislature projected that by 2024 the annual revenue from sports betting in the state would be just over $15 million. Once the Arizona market matures, it’s estimated to produce nearly $155 million in annual taxable revenue.

Sports betting revenue tax rates in Arizona are 8% of retail and 10% for online. The annual licensing fee for a sportsbook operating in the state is $150,000.

South Dakota Ready? You Bet

Fifty-eight percent of South Dakota voters approved sports betting in November 2020, roughly 10 months after the legislation was introduced to place it on the ballot, and now that majority decision has come to fruition after Gov. Kristi Noem signed it into law on March 29, 2021. The legalization process took a back seat in the headlines to the passage of recreational marijuana in the state but no matter. The amendment to the state constitution to allow wagers on sports is now a reality, albeit with some restrictions.

South Dakotans can bet on a majority of sporting events that include Week 1 NFL games but events that involve the state’s collegiate teams are prohibited. Sports betting rules were inked in August, according to Susan Christian, executive secretary for the South Dakota Commission on Gaming, as reported by Addison DeHaven of The Brookings Register.

Retail and mobile gambling on sports currently is restricted to the city limits of Deadwood, which houses two dozen casinos. BetMGM will have retail betting at Cadillac Jack and Tin Lizzie casinos.

Sportsbook Ads Increase Frequency

As the NFL returns this week, expect to see more advertisements for sports betting throughout the season when broadcasts cut to commercials. The league’s official partner networks of CBS, ESPN, FOX, and NBC for the first time will each be allotted to sell up to six ad spots per NFL game telecast to the following brands:

These seven brands represent the official sportsbooks of the NFL. In April 2021, the league entered into a combined $1 billion deal with Caesars, DraftKings, and FanDuel, which spent almost $315 million combined ($84 million in 2019) on advertising in 2020 before being partnered with the Western Hemisphere’s most recognizable league.

The $1 billion mark matches the price tag sportsbooks, in general, are primed to spend on advertising alone during the 2021-22 football season.

FanDuel publicly stated it intends to be one of the most aggressive on this front. During an interview with Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports, FanDuel senior vice president of brand marketing, Andrew Sneyd, said his company wants to be “the next iconic sports brand in America.”

The numbers suggest FanDuel could do so. Its second-quarter revenue was $906 million to represent 159% in growth.

“We recognize that we are spending when many others are forced not to — or choosing to pull back,” Sneyd said during his interview with Front Office Sports. “We’ve become an important part of partnering with regional sports networks and others.”

Record Number Set To Bet

The American Gaming Association on Sept. 7, 2021, reported that a record 45 million Americans are set to bet in some capacity on the upcoming NFL season. This amount represents a 36% increase from pro football betting last season.

“Sports betting is more popular than ever among Americans,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller, “and the enthusiasm of bettors for the upcoming NFL season highlights the remarkable growth of the industry over the past three years. Importantly, when the 2021 NFL season begins, more than 111 million American adults will be able to wager safely with regulated sportsbooks in their home states rather than with the predatory illegal market.”

Highlights, courtesy of the AGA’s report:

  • 21.7 million American adults will bet on the 2021 NFL season casually with friends, up 31% from 2020
  • 19.5 million will place a bet online, up 73% from 2020
  • 14.6 million will participate in a paid fantasy contest or other type of pool competition, up 69% from 2020
  • 10.5 million will place a bet at a physical casino sportsbook, up 58% from 2020
  • 6.7 million will place a bet with a bookie, up 13% from 2020

Shark Bites

The investigation into San Jose Sharks left winger Evander Kane allegedly betting on NHL games has “stalled.”

Kane’s estranged wife, Anna, was unavailable for interview by investigators, thus hitching the giddy-up of the investigation brought on by the league.

In August, a month after filing for divorce, Anna Kane shared on her Instagram account a series of posts alluding to Evander betting on hockey.

“Can someone ask (NHL Commissioner) Gary Bettman how they can let a player gamble on his own games? Bet and win with bookies on his own games?”

Evander took to his verified Twitter account to rebuke the claims. He was granted a temporary restraining order against Anna at the end of August, according to TMZ.

Evander filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy this year in California for claims of $1.5 million in casino and sports betting losses, as reported by The Action Network’s Tommy Stokke. The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas in 2019 filed a lawsuit against Evander that was later dropped in 2020 for $500,000 in unpaid debts.

As for Anna’s claims thus far that Evander “bet and win with bookies on his own games,” there has been “no betting trends or abnormalities (appearing) in Sharks games,” per a report from Front Office Sports on the matter.

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Mario Sanelli writes about sports betting for BeerLife Sports. He previously was the editorial assistant and a general-assignment reporter at The Denver Post for five years after serving as chief editor of The Metropolitan at MSU Denver. Mario was a NFL and college football insider with Mile High Sports for six years.