Arizona officials target Sept. 9, day of NFL opener, to start sports betting

Jun 2, 2021, 11:21 AM | Updated: 2:48 pm
(Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Gaming said Wednesday it was aiming to kick off legal sports betting in the state on Sept. 9, the first day of the 2021 NFL season.

The department also said the draft of rules regarding event wagering will be made public this month.

State and Native American officials finalized an updated tribal gaming compact and related legislation on April 15, authorizing a wide-ranging expansion of legal gambling.

In addition to sports betting, the deal allows the tribes to expand their casino gambling offerings and offer sports and fantasy betting.

On May 24, the U.S. Department of the Interior approved the updated tribal compact, keeping the target date of the NFL opener in play.

The season kicks off Sept. 9 with a Thursday night game between the Dallas Cowboys and defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The state gaming department still has to finish writing its event wagering rules. It will also have to process license applications and run background checks before the betting windows and apps can open in Arizona.

According to a timeline posted on the department’s website, a draft of the rules will be made available for public inspection on June 14.

The public comment period will end June 21. The gaming department will then have time to amend the rules.

Outside of the tribal casinos, major professional sports groups will be able to offer wagering on events at their home venues and nearby sportsbooks. Plus, online fantasy sports operations can piggyback on the licenses.

Pro teams will need to get state-issued licenses and set up operations.

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Arizona officials target Sept. 9, day of NFL opener, to start sports betting