Arizona is Offering Early Access to Legalized Sports Betting

Eric Uribe
By , Updated on: Sep 4, 2022 08:00 PM
Arizona is Offering Early Access to Legalized Sports Betting

Residents from other places in the United States that haven't yet legalized sports betting will want to closely monitor what's happening in Arizona. Their decision to legalize sports gambling at all came as something of a surprise, given their historically conservative political leanings, but now they're turning heads with their implementation of approved gambling. We may see United States gambling legislation changing as a result of what's happened in Arizona, using the state as a benchmark

Arizona is actually offering early access to legalized sports betting in advance of its official rollout on September 9. The thought process behind this is incredibly interesting and will no doubt serve as a model for other states that eventually green light single-game wagers. 

But could this decision by Arizona actually portend something greater in the sports-betting landscape?

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Why Arizona Is Offering Early Access to Sports Betting Accounts?

Though daily fantasy sports gambling is already legal throughout the state of Arizona, residents won't be able to place approved single-game wagers until Week 1 of the NFL season. Most would assume that's when they'd start allowing licensed sportsbooks to begin the process of recruiting and registering users while accepting bets. That's how it's worked in other locales, after all.

And yet, Arizona is displaying keen foresight here. If they waited until the literal first day that sports betting is legal to open up the gates of registration, there would be hangups galore. By allowing prospective players to open accounts and make deposits roughly two weeks in advance, they can iron out any potential wrinkles while ensuring bettors are up and running and ready to make investments right out of the gate.

This early access also gives Arizona's now-licensed sportsbooks an opportunity to appeal to their client base. FanDuel and DraftKings, for instance, have already dropped their apps for Arizona and are offering deposit specials to anyone who creates an account with them before September 9.

For the time being, new users will not actually be able to place any wagers on imminent competitions. They will, however, get to invest in Early Week 1 NFL lines and have more immediate access to in-game betting, which both DraftKings and FanDuel have promised to deliver in droves for all four major North American professional sports leagues.

Are the Other States Watching?

Twenty-two states have now legalized sports betting since 2018—including Arizona. Nine more, meanwhile, have passed legislation that paves the way for them to join their geographical peers. You can bet they'll be watching how Arizona's rollout process unfolds.

This isn't necessarily an unprecedented order of operations. There have been soft openings by region within states before. Arizona's process is unique in that it's available to the entire state, and they're allowing the transactional process between customers and sportsbooks to begin before it's technically scheduled to start.

Certain branches of government will feel uneasy about the timing. But this model should work well for states that have partnerships in place between teams and sportsbooks. Take Arizona, for example. As the folks over at Cronkite News pointed out:

BetMGM has partnered with the Arizona Cardinals, DraftKings has teamed with TPC Scottsdale and FanDuel is with the Phoenix Suns. Caesars Arizona is working with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tuesday announced a partnership with the Fiesta Bowl. The Phoenix Mercury are partnered with Ballys, Phoenix Speedway with Penn National, and the Arizona Rattlers with Rush Street Interactive.

With this many partnerships comes the desire to open up a bunch of on-site betting locations. It gets a little harder to navigate those openings if you're tasked with registering every gambler who arrives at the in-stadium and in-arena kiosks and cashiers. Arizona is trying to make it so people can go through the red tape now so everything else can be about placing and collecting on bets moving forward.

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How Arizona Might Influence Other States to Legalize Sports Betting?

While it seems like sports betting is increasingly getting the nod of approval in the United States, the truth of the matter is nearly half the country has yet to okay its existence. As of now, 19 of the 50 states don't have any imminent plans to join the wave.

With the exception of California, most of these places are on the ultra-conservative end of the political spectrum—just like Arizona. This means there is an element of "If they can do it, why can't everyone?" to this whole setup. But Arizona's rollout of legalized sports betting is more than that.

Everything will inevitably come back to the interest and revenue they're able to generate. The thinking has long been that more conservative states won't be able to drum up the same attention and stream of money for sports gambling because their residents aren't as interested. This, in turn, would limit the number of big sportsbooks that want to do business within the state.

Arizona is the latest place to try putting this notion to bed. Big companies like FanDuel and DraftKings are already operating within the state, a move Arizona helped streamline with their early-access allowance. On top of that, their research showed that one of five residents was already placing wagers at off-short sportsbooks. That is both a high number and one they expect to grow at domestic sportsbooks.

Will Arizona be right? We can't yet know for sure. But they are sure off to a great start. And if domestic sports betting goes down as a financial boon for their local economy, you better believe the states that haven't yet taken steps to legalize gambling will reconsider their position.

Check out this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all your own sports betting:

Meet the author

Eric Uribe

Eric has been passionate about sports since he was 10 years old. He brings over 10 years of sports journalism experience to his expert coverage of sports betting. Hailing from the US, Eric leverages his diverse expertise covering sports at all levels – from high schoo...

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