Fantasy Sports Contests Go Live In Arizona On Saturday

PHOENIX (AP) — Fantasy sports fans can legally bet on the contests starting Saturday in Arizona, a state that was among one of the last holdouts to allow wagers and the collection of winnings on the popular online pastime.

Legislation that Gov. Doug Ducey signed earlier this year greatly expanded sports betting in Arizona. Six operators — DraftKings, FanDuel, FFPC, Yahoo, Fantasy Sports Shark and Underdog Sports — have licenses to sign up players who build their own teams and wager on virtual games.

The legislation Ducey signed also expanded the type of gambling allowed at tribal casinos, and lets tribes and pro sports teams take wagers on sporting events. Gamblers won’t be able to do that traditional sports betting online or at teams’ venues until Sept. 9.

The Arizona Department of Gaming awarded licenses Friday to 10 Native American tribes and eight professional sports teams or venues to take bets online. While tribes already could run sports books at two dozen casinos under the newly revised state gambling compacts, they needed a license for online sports wagering.

Sixteen tribes applied for a license. The Gaming Department said it used criteria that included community contributions, regulatory compliance and the ability to operate sports betting within six months to vet the applicants. It also said it wanted to ensure geographic diversity.

Department director Ted Vogt said the license awards were the result of a rulemaking process with input from the public and others to ensure impartiality and fairness for the applicants.

The sports teams and venues that received licenses can run sports betting operations at their respective stadiums, NASCAR racetracks or golf courses, and at a retail location within a quarter mile and online.

The licensees can partner with a third-party to develop and run their sportsbooks and online presence.

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 pro 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.

The tribal licensees are: Ak-Chin, Fort Mohave, Navajo, Quechan, Tonto Apache, Tohono O’odham, Hualapai, San Juan Southern Paiute, San Carlos Apache and Fort McDowell Yavapai.

The pro sports teams and venues are: Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Suns, Arizona Coyotes, Phoenix Mercury, TPC Scottsdale, Phoenix Speedway and Arizona Rattlers.