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Arizona legalizes sports betting | Department of Gaming releases final rules

Senior Reporter

 Governor Doug Ducey signed Arizona’s sports betting bill into law on April 15, 2021, and the state is closer than it has ever been to unleashing the anticipated wagering opportunities. This process involves a great amount of detail, and each form of sports betting will come with its own set of rules for the operators, as well as players. And just in time for Super Bowl, the Department of Gaming released the final rules on mobile Fantasy Sports betting. Some are demanding but will aid in reducing unpleasant aftermath. 

Arizona legalizes sports betting | Department of Gaming releases final rules
Image: pixabay.com

On April 12th, 2021, Arizona’s Senate passed a bill approving both online and retail sports betting in the state. Licensed operators are now patiently preparing to offer their services to players, as fantasy sports betting is expected to officially launch on August 28. The timing couldn’t be more perfect since Super Bowl is right around the corner.

“It just brings something that Arizonans have been looking forward to,” said Ted Vogt, director of the Arizona Department of Gaming. 

With this newly granted freedom, also come a set of laws and regulations for operators, as well as participants. To inform both parties of the requirements and expectations, Arizona's Department of Gaming released its set of official fantasy sports rules on July 26. Mobile gambling involves a considerable number of potential risks, especially for problem gamblers. For that reason, online Sportsbooks providers will be expected to follow the given instructions to the T. 

As for participants, all residents (as well as visitors) over the age of 21, will be allowed to bet via mobile apps. Gamblers outside of Arizona are restricted from participating and all players are to remain within reservation parameters while accessing Sportsbooks on mobile devices. This law will automatically be enforced by a virtual border - Geo-fence. This virtual boundary will ensure that players are automatically logged out the moment they cross the generated line. 

Each mobile Sportsbook operator will be required to implement Geofencing into their systems. Doing so will eliminate the potential spike in gambling addictions, which would undoubtedly surface otherwise due to overly convenient access to mobile wagering. Director of the Algamus Recovery Center also expressed his concerns in this regard. He explained that as a former problematic gambler, a trip to a Nevada casino wasn’t a simple task, however, now it can be done right in your pocket,

“What we know from prevalent studies across the United States, is the more forms of gambling we offer to the public, the higher the addiction percentage will become and the higher the problematic percentage will become.”

However, not even a Geo-fence can stop problem gamblers from falling deeper into a vortex of addiction. To further prevent this issue, the new rules also require operators to provide a self-exclusion option and help for players who tend to take it too far. A small price to pay to evade disastrous consequences. Both measures to prevent excessive gambling may cut into Arizona’s online Sportsbook revenue, but not nearly deep enough to shake the anticipated, overall financial success. 

Unfortunately for many operators, not all will be allowed to offer mobile fantasy sports. Only 20 event wagering licenses will be distributed between Tribal casinos and professional sports teams, and only ten limited use licenses will be granted to selected applicants. This will also come with a heavy starting fee of up to $1M. Operators who are willing to reach deep into their pockets have until August 9 to submit the applications, which will then be followed by a short period of cherry-picking. With that said, only the cream of the crop will be chosen by the state to acquire the “lottery license”. 

The limited number of limited use licenses may potentially see an exception, as the state will consider additional operators that exceed their expectations in terms of financial stability and proof of pre-existing success in the market

Provided regulations don't seem to be slowing anyone down, as sports lovers in Arizona have been waiting for this opportunity for years - anything goes at this point. Sportsbooks are no less thrilled, and motivated by the upcoming opportunity to make a fortune. 

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