The Arizona Cardinals announced today their partnership with sports booking company Bet MGM and plans to establish a sports gambling system that allows Cardinal’s fans to bet on the game within the confines of State Farm Stadium. This may take the form of terminals within the stadium and or an app developed by Bet MGM in conjunction with the Cardinals.
After Arizona’s legislature gave the go-ahead for sports betting legalization, the hunger of football fans has been palpable. The bill, called HB-2772, was approved by a wide 23-6 margin. Moreover, the text of the legislation includes details that specifically legitimize both online and in-person sports wagering.
With lawmakers planning for these services to go live before the beginning of the 2021-2022 NFL season, the tentative start date for sports gambling in Arizona is September 9th. With deals like the one penned between the Cardinals and Bet MGM, this will be an exciting year for Arizona Football fans.
The Cardinals are breaking new ground with this deal and their proposed plans, as they will be the first NFL to have a retail sportsbook inside their home stadium. You’d be naive to think this will be the last such deal of its kind. Every team and state will be clamoring for this assuming it goes well, financially, which you’d highly expect it would.
The partnership also includes an agreement with the Gila Rivers Native American Tribe.
Amended compacts between the state government and the Gila Rivers Tribe have allowed the tribe to expand gambling options available to their players. These options include more slots, table games, additional casinos, and now, sports betting.
Gila Rivers Sports Gambling
Three Gila Rivers Hotel and Casinos’ will include similar retail sports booking experiences to the one available in State Farm Stadium, with starting dates near the beginning of the Cardinals season, at the latest in early 2022. These casinos are scattered throughout the state, with locations in Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte, and Vee Quiva.
The plans for a fourth casino are already in the works, and Bet MGM plans to add another sportsbook to that location. In addition, Gila Rivers has already begun including sports betting in their promotions, touting themselves as the exclusive sports betting HQ for Arizona and giving additional sports gambling perks to cardmembers.
Sportsbook Deals in Arizona
Bet MGM isn’t the first major sports booker to enter Arizona’s burgeoning sports gambling space. For example, DraftKings announced a partnership in April with the Professional Golfers’ Association to offer the company’s service at TPC (Tournament Players Club) of Scottsdale, home of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
BET MGM and DraftKings competitor FanDuel touted a similar deal with the FootPrint Center, home of NBA team the Phoenix Suns. The Arizona Diamondbacks also signed an agreement with Ceasar’s sportsbook and casino in May, allowing the company to open a sportsbook near Chase Field.
Soon after, Arizona’s WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury, penned a 15-year deal with the Bally Corporation. The gambling company is known for its online sports betting service Bally Bet, and the agreement is the first of its kind in women’s professional basketball.
One Last Hurdle
The deal between Bet MGM, the Gila Rivers Tribe, and the Arizona Cardinals still needs the approval of the Arizona Department of Gaming. According to HB 2772, the department has the right to oversee licenses for mobile sports betting operators and off-reservation sportsbooks. The application deadline ends on August 16th, with the department’s announcement of the licensing status to take place later that day.
It’s anticipated that the Department of Gaming will approve the deal, as the state government’s position on sports gambling has already been made clear. With the sports betting market projected to make $252 million, approval of deals between sports betting operators and NFL franchises is crucial to garnering this revenue. With more arrangements come more revenue and more of a cut going to fill the state’s coffers.
What does this mean for Arizona Sports fans? Hopefully, the introduction of this new sports betting platform to State Farm Stadium and the online sportsbook deals cropping up around the state means that the opportunities to wager on sports legally will only continue to grow. So as the state gears up for its 2021-2022 season, Cardinals fans will take advantage of those opportunities and hopefully win big on their favorite team.
Imagine ordering two hot dogs, two beers, and $40 on the Over. That’s a new reality for football fans.