Opinion Piece: Arizona Poised to Become a Major Betting Market in the West

Column: Betting on the West, Arizona Should be Major Market

Arizona sports betting is a major step forward in the growth of sports gambling across the United States, impacting both physical accessibility and financial benefits.

The state of Arizona is an important market because of its substantial population, which ranks 14th in the United States at nearly 7.3 million residents, making up about 2.2% of the total U.S. population. Phoenix, the largest city in the state, is ranked fifth in the country with over 1.7 million people, exceeding populations in cities such as Philadelphia and Dallas.

Businesses looking at Arizona are especially intrigued by its impressive growth rate. Various population metrics may show different rankings for Arizona’s population growth, but one thing is clear: While the overall U.S. population grew by 6.7% since the 2010 census, Arizona experienced a 16.1% increase (the fifth highest in the nation) and earned an extra seat in the House of Representatives.

This is exciting news for businesses looking to join the growing Arizona sports betting apps market, as numerous companies are ready to begin taking bets in the state. It is also worth mentioning that the official population count may not reflect the potential impact of seasonal snowbird residents and tourists who could contribute to Arizona’s sports betting industry with their extra spending money.

On May 24, Arizona formally legalized sports betting after the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the Interior Department gave approval to the agreement between the state and Native American tribal groups that regulate the casino industry in Arizona.

As a result, there will be actual physical sportsbooks throughout the state in casinos and at sports venues. There will also be 20 online licenses with 10 of those going to casinos and another handful going to pro sports franchises/organizations, such as MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks, the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, golf’s TPC Scottsdale and auto racing’s Phoenix Raceway.

Due to recent changes, Native American casinos have expanded their selection of casino table games to include craps, roulette, baccarat, Pai gow, and sic bo, which were previously not allowed. They can also now offer sports gambling as a new gaming option, in addition to their previous offerings of blackjack, poker, keno, and bingo.

Top Sportsbooks Lining Up

When football season arrives, expect to find popular sports betting companies such as DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars/William Hill, and others in both brick-and-mortar and online sportsbooks in Arizona. The availability of sports betting will depend on the speed of license approvals and the launch of physical and virtual books by sports operators.

Sports betting operators will have plenty of opportunities to attract customers with exciting promotions due to the favorable weather and busy sports schedule, which includes PGA tournaments, college football bowl games, and NASCAR races. In addition to these events, the regular schedule of local professional and college team games will create a bustling and thrilling atmosphere for sports wagering.

Sports gambling in Arizona presents a lucrative opportunity for sports betting companies to tap into a promising demographic and also brings a slight change to the geographical landscape of sports wagering.

East Coast Beginning

After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018, Nevada lost its near monopoly on single-event sports betting. Delaware and New Jersey were the first East Coast states to legalize sports gambling, prompting Pennsylvania and West Virginia to follow suit. Midwest states like Iowa and Indiana, which already had established casino industries, joined in. Michigan and Illinois also eventually legalized sports betting.

The expansion of sports gambling across the western United States has been inconsistent. Nevada, known for its established industry, has been a leader in this movement. In contrast, states such as Colorado have experienced substantial growth in online betting, despite having limited casino options. Oregon and Washington have made progress in online and retail betting, respectively. On the other hand, bigger states like California and Texas have faced challenges that have prevented them from making significant strides in this area.

It is yet to be determined if Arizona’s growing population and regional influence will help alleviate congestion in the western region. However, Arizona is ready to make a mark in the realm of sports betting.



Bennett Yehoshua

Bennett Yehoshua, a writer for BetArizona, brings a wealth of experience in journalism to his work. With a background that includes 25 years as a reporter and editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun, he was part of a team that was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News. Yehoshua’s career in covering casinos and gaming began shortly after the opening of Atlantic City’s first gambling halls. For ten years, he wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations and reported on the World Series of Poker. His articles on gaming have been published in major U.S. newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Miami Herald.

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