. Arizona Casino & Sports Betting News Archives - Page 2 of 33 - Play-in-AZ.com

Written By C.J. Pierre on September 25, 2021Last Updated on January 30, 2023
Twists And Turns Of NFL Same Game Parlays

As the old saying goes: “You win some, you lose some.”

That’s the nature of sports betting and gambling. But it’s the fun of finding out if you will strike big that keeps us coming back. People in Arizona are discovering that as more and more new players are taking advantage of legal wagering in the state.

One of the more popular types of bets offered by some sportsbooks goes by the name “same-game parlays.” Simply put, it is a series of bets placed on different outcomes in one game. They can range from one player throwing for a touchdown and rushing for a score to three different players getting over 50 receiving yards.

Is there some strategy involved? Sure, there is. However, oftentimes, if you win or lose your parlay, it could all come down to pure luck. Or in some cases — like if you are someone like me looking at the Carolina PanthersHouston Texans matchup on Thursday Night Football — bad luck.

How same-game parlays work in AZ sports betting

Many of the sportsbooks will have their own built-in same game parlays and prop bets listed as soon as you log in.

For example, BetMGM Arizona will list two or three different outcomes from a featured game. The books will often attach odds boosts or super boosts to those parlays that they pick out. But it’s up to you to decide if they are worthing putting money down on them.

This past Monday, WynnBet AZ offered a parlay odds boost on Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams gaining at least 100 receiving yards and scoring a touchdown. That didn’t hit, but given his track record, it doesn’t seem like a bad play.

Keep in mind, not every bet within a game will be allowed in a same-game parlay. Many sports betting apps will have same-game parlay opportunities labeled with “SGP.”

My same-game parlay: Riding the CMC Express

While bettors can add moneyline and points spread markets in a same-game parlay, many hang their hats on including wagers on individual player props. It’s much like fantasy football in a way, hoping that certain players will perform well, or expecting them to perform poorly.

In Thursday night’s game, I put most of my chips on Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey. The duel-threat star has been a force running and receiving the ball since entering the league in 2017. Facing a favorable matchup against a Texans team that is rebuilding, I thought that this was a chance to cash-in.

And I wasn’t alone. Several sportsbooks offered up odds boosts and super boosts expecting McCaffrey to run wild. For example, the Caesars Arizona sportsbook ran a super boost on him gaining at least 100 combined yards rushing and receiving.

I was so confident that McCaffrey was going to have a performance that would vault him into the MVP conversation that he was included in my parlays with three Arizona betting apps: Caesars, FanDuel AZ and DraftKings Arizona. I projected that he would run for at least 60 yards, have at least 50 receiving yards and score a touchdown.

Filling out the parlays, I included that the Panthers would win the game, quarterback Sam Darnold would throw for at least two touchdowns and that wide receiver DJ Moore would catch at least 6 passes for over 60 yards. So for the record, it was three 7-leg same-game parlays all ranging around the +550 odds territory.

The CMC, Panthers parlay sports betting train quickly comes to a halt

In the Panthers’ second drive of the first quarter, Darnold was finding Moore down the field and those props appeared they would hit in no time. And near the goal line, Darnold ran a QB option and sprinted into the end zone for a score. I’m thinking, “Missed opportunity for a touchdown pass or a score for McCaffrey, but no worries.” Then the second quarter started.

As the Panthers enter the red zone, McCaffrey took a handoff to the left and hobbled out of bounds. And that’s it. Nothing else that happened in this game mattered. The guy I had three prop bets on in my parlays was out of the game with a hamstring injury. No touchdowns, 31 rushing yards and nine receiving yards. Game over for me.

Now, I would have lost anyway because Darnold ended up running for two scores while throwing zero touchdown passes. However, that is something that would have allowed me to stay invested in the game. But for many bettors with no rooting interest in the game, it was over near the start of the second quarter.

A silver lining came later in the evening. After seeing McCaffrey get hurt, Caesars decided to offer a reprieve to customers. All eligible McCaffrey super boost bettors would see a bonus bet in their betslips when going to place a new wager on the Caesars sportsbook app. The bonus would match the amount of the wager placed on the McCaffrey super boost.

It’s a nice pick-me-up for super boost betters, like me. However, same-game parlay bettors, like me, are out of luck. But that’s how the cookie crumbles sometimes. Better luck in the next round of games folks.

Photo by AP / Eric Christian Smith
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CJ Pierre is a multimedia journalist currently residing in the Phoenix-Metro Area in Arizona. He has been covering news and sports for over a decade for both online and TV broadcasts. He was born and raised in Minneapolis and an alum of Minnesota State University: Moorhead. CJ has experience as a reporter and videographer and has covered high school, college and professional sports throughout his career. Most notably following Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Vikings and North Dakota State University football.

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Written By T.J. McBride on February 15, 2023

The state of Arizona saw a massive boost from November of 2021 to that same month in 2022. Not only did the state of Arizona take over $611 million in online sports bets, but they also outpaced the year prior by a whopping 32.2%. This is the second consecutive month in which the state of Arizona eclipsed $600 million in online wagers.

“It is exciting to see a second consecutive month of over $600 million wagered on sports by patrons within the state,” said Ted Vogt, Director, Arizona Department of Gaming. “This milestone highlights Arizona’s strong sports betting market, which has already established itself as a top-ten market nationally.”

Before diving into the breakdown of what each sportsbook has contributed and the state wide statistics as they relate to online gaming, let us first outline the 18 sportsbooks operating in the state of Arizona and the three of those 18 which also have a retail sportsbook for betters to visit.

More on the money

Arizona sports betting grossed nearly $617 million in handle across its 18 licensed operators. Of that total, all but about $6 million came specifically from online sports wagering. That smaller amount came from daily fantasy sports players.

More than $560 million was paid out from operators to Arizona online sports bettors who placed winning bets. As a result, the 18 online sports betting platforms in the state of Arizona generated nearly $55 million in Adjusted Gross Event Wagering Receipts.

After nearly $16 million of bonus bets, and almost $3.9 million in privilege fees paid to the Grand Canyon State, operators made approximately $35 million in profits.

Key Arizona sports betting takeaways from November 2022

DraftKings owned the highest Arizona sports betting market share in November. Arizona bettors wagered more than $200 million via their online sportsbook. That’s more than 32% of the state’s monthly sports betting handle.

Close behind was FanDuel, which attracted more than $193 million in sports bets. FanDuel also led all operators in bonus bets and/or promotional credits offered to Arizona bettors. They offered nearly $5.5 million in November.

DraftKings and FanDuel combined to account for 64% of Arizona’s sports betting business. It was quite a distance back to the rest of the field. BetMGM did almost $94 million in handle, and Caesars was fourth with nearly $62 million.

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T.J. McBride is a writer and reporter based in Denver who covers the Denver Nuggets as a beat writer. He contributes regularly to PlayTexas on issues surrounding the illegal gaming market. His byline can be found across many websites such as ESPN, FiveThirtyEight, Bleacher Report and others.

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Written By Jarrett Huff on April 18, 2023
Jackpocket users can now buy lottery ticket's with desktop computer

Jackpocket is jumping out of pockets and onto desktops, giving lottery players a new avenue to play their favorite games.

Jackpocket is a third-party lottery service available in 15 states. It allows players to pick the game they want to play and their numbers or enter “quick play,” and then order the ticket. Company representatives then buy the ticket from Circle K, one of its partners, and sends players a scan of their ticket while safely storing the physical ticket.

To date, Jackpocket users have won over $250 million in prizes.

Jackpocket targets older lottery players with desktop option

Jackpocket courier service went live in Arizona in January. Arizona players can now play nearly a dozen different lottery games, including Powerball, Mega Millions, and Cash 4 Life, online. New users can get their first lottery ticket for free.

Jackpocket’s reason for introducing a desktop platform is to expand its customer base while giving current users more options. For Peter Sullivan, Jackpocket founder, and CEO, it’s all about convenience.

“Our goal at Jackpocket is to make the lottery more accessible and convenient, and this launch offers our users even more flexibility to participate their way on their schedule.”

According to Sullivan, 70% of Jackpocket’s mobile user customer base is in the 18 to 45 age demographic. Those in the 45+ demographic account for over 60% of the users on the new platform. That shows the potential of the service to target older lottery players.

Jackpocket continues to expand operations in the US

In 2022, Jackpocket users took home $128.7 million in winnings, 17 of which won prizes worth $1 million or more. Also, there were over 23,000 winners per day on average, with about 16 winners a minute. One million users won money in 2022. Powerball gave Jackpocket winners the highest cumulative total in prizes, raking in over $25 million in the US. The courier service processes around 100,000 tickets a day.

In the expanding $100 billion lottery ticket industry, mobile lottery courier apps like Jackpocket have cornered around 2% to 3% of the market. With the introduction of a desktop version of the mobile app, it would make sense if Jackpocket’s rise in the market is accelerated.

Third-party courier services apps are designed to make playing the lottery easier, more accessible, and more fun. With the expansion into the desktop space, a platform where users in the 45+ age demographic typically may have more familiarity or access when compared to mobile devices, it’s likely their customer base in that demographic will expand too.

It also gives current users of the mobile platform more opportunities to play the lottery.

Jackpocket is a company backed by investors like Mark Cuban and Circle K. It has partnered with several major North American sports franchises like the New York Mets and also the Dallas Mavericks. And it continues to expand into other US states.

Giving users the ability to play the lottery on their desktop computers or laptops makes the courier service even more attractive to Arizona lottery players.

Photo by Shutterstock
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Jarrett Huff is a former sports editor at Northern Star Media from Wonder Lake, Illinois. Friends and family will tell you he’s an NBA history nerd with a diehard passion for the Chicago Bulls, Bears and Cubs.

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Written By T.J. McBride on April 24, 2023
AZ tribal record to state

Arizona’s tribal casinos are thriving. A great indicator of that is tribal gaming contributions to the state set a record in fiscal year 2022, which ended in June.

Tribes contributed an incredible $123.6 million to the Arizona Benefits Fund from July 2021 through June 2022, with $15.1 million of the amount going directly to counties, cities, and towns in Arizona.

The $38.4 million contributed in the fourth quarter of FY 2022 (April 1 through June 30) pushed the total for the year to record heights.

Record contribution reflects growth of gambling across US

Sixteen tribes operate a total of 24 Class III casinos across Arizona. Arizona online casinos are still prohibited from using real money. Until that changes, sweepstakes and social casinos are available that offer casino game action.

The boost in contributions from Arizona casinos matches the widespread growth of gambling across the nation. The more money that goes to the Arizona Benefits Fund (ABF), the more good that can be done.

Ted Vogt, director of the Arizona Department of Gaming, told the Arizona Indian Gaming Association that FY2022 was a tremendous year for gaming in Arizona.

“I am ecstatic to see the highest levels of tribal contributions to the state following the Amended Tribal-State Gaming Compact signed by Gov. Ducey last year. With over $21 million more in total contributions to the Arizona Benefits Fund when compared to the next highest fiscal year, it is safe to say 2022 was historic for Arizona tribal gaming.”

Tribal contributions came from 24 AZ casinos

Out of the 22 federally recognized Native American tribes in Arizona, 16 of them operate 24 full-service casinos. The six tribes that do not run casinos lease their slot machine rights to the tribes with casinos.

Here’s a list of the 16 tribes and their 24 casinos, in alphabetical order by tribe:

  • Ak-Chin Indian Community: Harrah’s Ak-Chin Hotel & Casino
  • Cocopah Indian Tribe: Cocopah Casino Resort
  • Colorado River Indian Tribes: Blue Water Resort & Casino
  • Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation: We-Ko-Pa Resort & Conference Center
  • Fort Mojave Indian Tribe: Spirit Mountain Casino
  • Fort Yuma-Quechan Tribe: Paradise Casino
  • Gila River Indian Community: Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino; Lone Butte Casino; Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino
  • Navajo Nation: Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort
  • Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona: Casino of the Sun; Casino del Sol Resort
  • Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community: Casino Arizona; Talking Stick Resort
  • San Carlos Apache Tribe: Apache Gold Casino Resort; Apache Sky Casino
  • Tohono O’odham Nation: Desert Diamond Casino West Valley; Desert Diamond Tucson; Desert Diamond Sahuarita
  • Tonto Apache Tribe: Mazatzal Casino
  • White Mountain Apache Tribe: Hon-Dah Resort Casino & Conference Center
  • Yavapai-Apache Nation: Cliff Castle Casino Hotel
  • Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe: Yavapai Casino; Bucky’s Casino

Tribal casino dollars pay for several services in Arizona

So, how is the money in the ABF spent by the state?

88% of contributions from tribal casinos go to the ABF, while the remaining 12% goes to counties, cities, and towns in Arizona.

Money in the ABF goes toward:

  • Education
  • Emergency services
  • Wildlife conservation and restoration
  • Tourism

The largest share of the ABF, 56%, goes to the Instructional Improvement Fund. It helps reduce classroom sizes, increase teacher salaries, fund dropout prevention programs, and also fund instructional improvement programs.

The second biggest portion, 28%, goes to the Trauma and Emergency Services Fund. Those dollars go to hospitals to pay the costs of unrecovered trauma centers and also emergency services.

The third and fourth programs, wildlife conservation and tourism, each receive an 8% share of the ABF.

The Arizona Benefits Fund is a great example of what regulated and licensed gambling can do for a state.

Photo by Shutterstock
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T.J. McBride is a writer and reporter based in Denver who covers the Denver Nuggets as a beat writer. He contributes regularly to PlayTexas on issues surrounding the illegal gaming market. His byline can be found across many websites such as ESPN, FiveThirtyEight, Bleacher Report and others.

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Written By Darren Cooper on January 12, 2023Last Updated on May 1, 2023
arizona cardinals betting october az sportsbooks

The Arizona sports betting market grew 14.8% in October 2022, and likely will continue to keep growing with major sporting events on the calendar.

According to the latest revenue report from the Arizona Department of Gaming, a total of $618.6 million was bet at the 18 sportsbook operators licensed in the state. In September, $538 million in bets were made.

Sportsbooks should expect to see some big handle numbers in the future as Arizona is hosting Super Bowl 57 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale on Feb. 12. The popular Phoenix Open is set for Feb. 9-12.

ADG director Ted Vogt said in a press release:

“It’s clear Arizona’s sports betting industry continues to grow, with over $132 million more dollars wagered in October of 2022 when compared to the same month of 2021. With Super Bowl LVII and the Phoenix Waste Management Open on the horizon, I am excited to see how these major sports tourism event impacts the state’s sports betting industry in the coming months.”

The ADG’s one-page report lists bets, payouts for players and includes a section on the bonus bets that don’t count as taxable revenue by Arizona. Nearly $3 million in state tax, what Arizona calls — “privilege fees” — was collected in October, nearing $30 million for the year so far.

DraftKings Arizona top sportsbook in October

DraftKings AZ was again the most popular platform for bettors. The company took in $214.7 million in bets in October and paid out $202 million in winnings.

Three sportsbook operators in the state saw mentionable handle increases. FanDuel Arizona saw total bets raise $50 million in October to $194 million. BetMGM Arizona wagers rose $13 million and Caesars Arizona went up $11 million.

Some Arizona betting apps got less attention in October. SuperBook AZ and Hard Rock sportsbooks each saw more than a million less in sports bets.

The ADG does not list the specific sports bets by Arizona players, but October is a big month for sports with the MLB playoffs, and the start of the NBA and NHL seasons. And, obviously, the top of the NFL season.

Arizona online sportsbooks made up 99% of total handle, with only $6.2 million in wagers at the three retail locations in the state (FanDuel, Caesars and BetMGM). Here’s a breakdown of the 18 licensed sportsbooks in Arizona, per sports betting handle:

  1. DraftKings $214.7 million
  2. FanDuel $194.2 million
  3. BetMGM: $94 million
  4. Caesars: $57.2 million
  5. Barstool: $17.5 million
  6. WynnBet: $8.4 million
  7. Hard Rock: $6.1 million
  8. BetRivers: $6 million
  9. Desert Diamond: $5 million
  10. SuperBook Sports: $3.4 million
  11. Betfred: $2.4 million
  12. Betway: $780,000
  13. Unibet: $730,000
  14. Fubo: $320,000
  15. Bally’s: $255,000
  16. SaharaBets: $155,000
  17. Golden Nugget: $150,000
  18. Churchill Downs: $87,000
Photo by Darryl Webb / AP
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Darren Cooper was born and raised in Southern Louisiana, just a short pirogue ride away from New Orleans. He started his journalism career at the New Orleans Times-Picayune and has been a writer and columnist in New Jersey since 1998. He’s won 14 statewide press awards and earned his first Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 award in 2022.

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Written By Aleeyah Jadavji on May 2, 2023
Arizona spent over $1M on treatment of problem gambling in FY 2022

A few things stood out in the Arizona Department of Gaming’s annual report for fiscal year 2022, which is from July 2021 through June 2022.

First off, the ADG’s Division of Problem Gambling spent more than $1 million in FY 2022 on problem gambling treatment.

Second, all three horse racing tracks in Arizona ran live races in FY 2022, the first time that has happened since the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the country beginning in spring 2020.

Finally, the boxing and mixed martial arts industry rebounded tremendously in FY 2022. The state hosted nearly two dozen more fights in FY 2022 than in the previous fiscal year.

Tribes make quarterly payments to the state

Arizona is home to 22 federally-recognized Native American tribes. Sixteen of the tribes offer casino gambling, while the other six sell their slots gaming rights to the tribes with casinos. Arizona online casinos are still prohibited, even though online sports betting is thriving across the state.

With the passing of Proposition 202 in 2002, tribes must make quarterly payments each year to the state based on a percentage of their gross gaming revenue. The tribes’ total contribution was $123.6 million in FY 2022.

Most of the money (88%) goes to the Arizona Benefits Fund, which funds education, hospital, wildlife, and tourism services. The remaining 12% goes to cities, towns, and counties where there are casinos. The contribution in FY 2022 was $15.1 million.

Over $1.1 million spent on treatment of problem gambling

Each year, ADG gives 2% of the Arizona Benefits Fund to the Division of Problem Gambling (DPG) to pay for treatment and education on problem gambling. The DPG was created to support education, prevention, and the treatment of problem gambling for those affected as well as their families.

In FY 2022, more than $1.1 million was spent on the treatment of problem gambling in the state. The DPG spent a total of $1.76 million in FY 2022 on treatments and operational costs. DPG provided 32 hours of training sessions to treatment providers, and these professionals treated 816 people.

Of the 2,152 active self-exclusions in Arizona in FY 2022, there were 363 new enrollments for the year.

Some of the ways in which the DPG offers help for people entangled in problem gambling include:

  • Educating people at exhibits and conferences
  • Providing counseling, specialized treatment, and a 24/7 helpline
  • Voluntary casino self-exclusion programs

Racing division saw increases across the board

Arizona put up big numbers in the racing division in FY 2022.

In terms of total handle, live races increased by 7% from 2021. Increases were seen across the board, including simulcast races, teletracking, and on-track and off-track handle.

State revenues increased by 23.2% from 2021. Total wagering in FY 2022 was $355.4 million, with the state taking a $1.8 million cut, an increase of 22.5% from 2021.

Boxing and MMA on the rise in Arizona

The funding for boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA) in the state comes from the Racing Regulation Fund. For FY 2022, a total of $1.8 million was spent.

ADG’s Boxing & Mixed Martial Arts Division supports and regulates unarmed sporting events in Arizona and promotes safety among participants and fighters.

This division also contributes revenue from event and licensing fees as well as other tax levies back to the Racing Regulation Fund.

In FY 2022, there were 23 more events in boxing and MMA than in 2021. For FY 2023, the budget has been increased to $2.3 million. The average over the last three years has been around $1.8 million.

Here is a breakdown of the different events from 2022 as reported by the ADG:

  • Arizona title fight: 1
  • New promoters: 4
  • US/regional title fights: 6
  • World title fights: 6
  • Arizona events televised worldwide: 8
  • Events held: 32
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Aleeyah hails from Toronto, Ontario, and has worked predominantly in the poker industry since 2015. From writing to interviewing big winners and live reporting on poker’s biggest stages, she’s seen it all. Aleeyah loves to cook and create content to showcase her passion for food and travel. She also loves sriracha and doesn’t trust anyone who believes it’s not a top-tier condiment.

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Written By T.J. McBride on May 3, 2023
Ex-Arizona Wildcat Stanley Berryhill was suspended by the NFL for violating the league's gambling policy.

Former University of Arizona wide receiver Stanley Berryhill was one of five NFL players recently punished for violating the league’s gambling policy. Berryhill, currently playing for the Detroit Lions, is suspended for the first six games of the 2023 season.

Three other Detroit players were also tagged by the NFL. They included 2022 first-round pick wideout Jameson Williams, who was also suspended for six games. The other two Lions players, wide receiver Quintez Cephus and safety C.J. Moore were suspended indefinitely by the NFL. Detroit immediately cut the two, who reportedly placed bets on NFL games.

Washington Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney was also suspended indefinitely. He can’t seek reinstatement until after the 2023 season. Some Lions’ staffers were also punished by the league.

Berryhill reportedly did not bet on NFL games

Betting on sports has been legal in Arizona since September 2021. Arizona sports betting now boasts 17 online sportsbooks. Sports betting in Michigan launched about eight months earlier than in Arizona. The state is currently served by 15 online sportsbooks.

Eric Woodyard of ESPN was the first to report that the NFL had suspended the five players on April 21. Reportedly, Berryhill and Williams were given less-severe suspensions because they placed wagers while at NFL facilities as opposed to gambling on actual NFL games, which the other three players are suspected of doing.

The NFL said it found no evidence that any inside information was used or that any NFL games were compromised by the players or members of the Lions staff.

Berryhill had a breakout season in 2021 at U of A

Berryhill spent four years playing for the U of A Wildcats as a wide receiver. For his first three years, he struggled to get on the field, with just over 600 yards from scrimmage in total. As a senior, however, Berryhill caught 83 passes and racked up 865 yards from scrimmage, including 121 rushing yards on 19 attempts.

No team drafted Berryhill in 2022. He hopped around the league, playing for the Atlanta Falcons and the Arizona Cardinals, before signing with the Detroit Lions.

Like Berryhill, Williams was reportedly placing bets on non-NFL games while on NFL property.

Being that four of the five suspended players were on the Lions, team General Manager Brad Holmes issued a statement.

“As a result of an NFL investigation, it came to our attention that a few of our players had violated the league’s gambling policy. These players exhibited decision making that is not consistent with our organizational values and violates league rules. We have made the decision to part ways with Quintez and C.J. immediately. We are disappointed by the decision making demonstrated by Stanley and Jameson and will work with both players to ensure they understand the severity of these violations and have clarity on the league rules moving forward.”

In addition to the suspensions of the players, there were several Detroit staff members who were let go by the team.

NFL enacts harsh punishments for violating its gambling policy

NFL players are strictly prohibited from betting on NFL games. They also are not allowed to bet from “any club or league setting,” as it is defined in the NFL policy on gambling. NFL players also can’t visit a physical sportsbook during the season.

Players are allowed to wager on other professional and college sports so long as they are not at an NFL facility when they place a wager.

NFL players found betting on NFL games receives the harshest penalties from the league. Players that violate the rule are typically suspended indefinitely. They then can reapply for reinstatement after one year or longer if NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell deems it.

Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Josh Shaw was suspended for several games of the 2019 season and the entire 2020 season for betting on NFL games. He was reinstated in 2021 but has not played in any NFL games since his suspension.

Goodell made the NFL’s policy on gambling crystal clear in a letter he wrote after standout Atlanta Falcons wideout Calvin Ridley was abruptly suspended in 2021.

“There is nothing more fundamental to the NFL’s success – and to the reputation of everyone associated with our league – than upholding the integrity of the game. This is the responsibility of every player, coach, owner, game official, and anyone else employed in the league. Your actions put the integrity of the game at risk, threatened to damage public confidence in professional football, and potentially undermined the reputations of your fellow players throughout the NFL.”

Goodell went on to say that NFL personnel betting on NFL games and anyone in violation of the NFL’s gambling policy would warrant “the most substantial sanction.”

Photo by Andy Nelson/AP Photo
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T.J. McBride is a writer and reporter based in Denver who covers the Denver Nuggets as a beat writer. He contributes regularly to PlayTexas on issues surrounding the illegal gaming market. His byline can be found across many websites such as ESPN, FiveThirtyEight, Bleacher Report and others.

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Written By Sam Hollingsworth on May 12, 2023Last Updated on May 22, 2023
Construction on the fifth Desert Diamond Casino in Arizona has begun.

The anticipated details of the newest casino in Arizona have been released as construction gets underway. Work has begun on the second Desert Diamond Casino in Phoenix and the fifth in Arizona.

Phase 1 of construction, building the casino, should be complete by late 2024. The second phase will look to add a hotel, pool and spa, conference center, and amphitheater.

Tribe’s other Desert Diamond Casino in West Valley is much larger

Arizona online casinos are still prohibited in the state. Players can play online in sweepstakes and social casinos, but not for real money. There are currently 26 casinos in Arizona, all of them operated by Native American tribes. The new Desert Diamond will be the 27th.

The fifth Desert Diamond Casino will be smaller than the other West Valley casino, which is more than a million square feet.

The $450 million venture by Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise will be located on more than 100 acres of land taken into a trust by the federal government on behalf of the Native American Nation, according to the Arizona Republic. The new 184,000-square-foot casino will sport 900 slot machines, 30 tables games like blackjack and roulette, as well as a poker room, sportsbook, and the typical dining establishments.

In comparison, the other West Valley casino, also owned by the Tohono O’odham tribe, currently offers 1,400 slots, more than 30 table games, and a sportsbook, among other amenities. It took more than two years to construct and opened in February 2020.

New Desert Diamond will be near Luke Air Force Base

The groundbreaking ceremony on the newest Desert Diamond took place on April 5. It is expected to create more than 5,000 construction jobs in addition to more than 1,000 permanent jobs once the casino and resort are open.

The Tohono O’odham tribe was mum about the details of the casino until recently. It will be located near Luke Air Force Base off the Loop 303 in Phoenix. It will be about 10 miles from the tribe’s other West Valley casino.

The casino resort will also be near the Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium and Falcon Dunes Golf Course.

Two of the tribe’s other Desert Diamond casinos are in Tucson. The last one is south of Ajo.

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Sam is a native New Yorker with a long history of sports betting as well as watching, wagering, and owning racehorses, and, of course, casino-frequenting. He enjoys visiting sporting venues - anything from the U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to any baseball game, regardless of the level of play or length of the drive to get there, and any horse racing venue. Sam is a marketing executive, father, and dog owner with a zest for life and love for exploring.

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Written By Hill Kerby on May 22, 2023
Two Arizona casinos have been recognized for human trafficking prevention efforts.

Two Arizona casinos recently received accolades for taking action to prevent human trafficking.

Casino Arizona and Talking Stick Resort, properties of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, earned Safeguarding All From Exploitation Action Project Certification from the Arizona Anti-Trafficking Network (AATN) on April 27.

The AATN works with tourism-based businesses to equip employees with the necessary skills and information to identify, report and also prevent human trafficking.

First casinos to achieve certification

There are more than two dozen tribal casinos in Arizona. Arizona online casinos are still prohibited, but there are several sweepstakes and social casinos available to players in The Grand Canyon State.

Talking Stick and Casino Arizona earned certification after 94% of their collective staff completed AATN’s Safeguarding All From Exploitation (SAFE) Action Project. The properties participated in the program earlier this year in preparation for Super Bowl LVII.

AATN mandated all companies in the tourism industry to complete the program. The two Arizona tribal casinos are the first casinos to do so at a high enough rate to earn certification. AATN trained 3,025 employees in just over two months.

Anthony Maxwell, security director at Casino Arizona, said the certification shows the casinos’ commitment to safety.

“We are honored to be the first and only certified casinos in the state to receive such a prestigious recognition from a reputable organization like the Arizona Anti-Trafficking Network. The safety of our guests is always a top priority for us, and we were mindful that extra precautions were imperative leading up to the influx of visitors for the Super Bowl.”

Casinos want to train 100% of their staffs

The Super Bowl may have been the impetus for completing the course, but Casino Arizona and Talking Stick Resort are looking to train 100% of their staff through the SAFE Action Project by the end of the year.

To do this, they will provide regular in-person training sessions and have also created an online course for staff to complete on their own time, Maxwell said.

“This SAFE Action Project Certification is just the beginning. We are continuing our efforts in the hopes of training all of our staff to identify, report and prevent human trafficking on our properties and beyond. And we hope other groups in Arizona follow suit.” 

Arizona ranks 13th in nation for human trafficking

The National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH) reported more than 50,000 signals in 2021, which includes calls, texts, emails, web chats and online tip reports. Two-thirds of those signals specified their locations. There were 651 signals in Arizona.

Arizona ranks 13th in the US for human trafficking, according to the NHTH.

Participants in the AATN SAFE Action Project are taking an active role in reducing that number moving forward. In the process, Arizona should improve its ranking. 

But more importantly, it hopes to lead by example for other in-state industries and additional states looking to take a firmer stance at preventing human trafficking.

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Written By Cole Rush on May 18, 2023Last Updated on May 23, 2023
arizona sportsbooks

In October 2022, FuboTV shut down its sports betting operations. Fubo Sportsbook was live in Arizona, and its shutdown diminished the state’s online sportsbook count from 18 to 17.

Arizona sports betting allows for up to 20 individual operators. With Fubo out and spots still available, which operator(s) might launch a sportsbook in Arizona?

Understanding the Arizona sports betting market

Arizona sports betting law allows for up to 20 sports betting licenses. 10 sports franchises and 10 tribes are allowed to partner with sportsbook operators. Currently, the list includes the following sportsbooks:

Sportsbook Franchise Partner Tribal Partner
FanDuel Phoenix Suns N/A
Caesars Arizona Diamondbacks N/A
DraftKings PGA/TPC Scottsdale N/A
Bally Bet Phoenix Mercury N/A
Barstool NASCAR/Phoenix Raceway N/A
BetMGM Arizona Cardinals Gila River Indian Community
Sahara Bets Arizona Coyotes N/A
BetRivers Arizona Rattlers N/A
WynnBET N/A San Carlos Apache Tribe
Unibet N/A Fort Yuma Quechan Indian Tribe
TwinSpires N/A Tonto Apache Tribe
Betfred N/A Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation
Desert Diamond N/A Tohono O’odham Nation
Hard Rock N/A Navajo Nation
Betway N/A San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe
Golden Nugget N/A Hualapai Tribe
SuperBook N/A Fort Mojave Indian Tribe

The Ak-Chin Indian Community was originally partnered with Fubo Sportsbook.

Most of the major, well-known sports betting brands are already I’ve in Arizona. It’s less a question of who will take the final license and more of a “Who’s left?” Turns out there are a few possible contenders.

Who could snag the last license?

Your guess is as good as mine, but a few frontrunners emerge when you start to look at operators with sportsbooks in other legal states that might want a slice of the Arizona market.


In the early aughts of Arizona sports betting, PointsBet forged a partnership with the Yavapai-Apache Nation and Cliff Castle Casino Hotel. That market access never translated to a sportsbook launch, however. The Arizona Department of Gaming declined to grant the Yavapai-Apache Nation a sports betting license, shunting PointsBet’s progress toward an Arizona launch. The company actively sought other routes to AZ sports betting, but none came to fruition.

Had you asked us a few weeks ago, PointsBet would’ve been the top contender for an Arizona license. But recent events have thrown a wrench into that prediction.

Fanatics, a sports merchandise company, reached a deal to acquire PointsBet’s US assets for $150 million. The announcement is still fresh, so Fanatics’ intentions are unclear. Will it keep PointsBet’s existing sportsbooks in the US as is? Will it shutter the PointsBet brand and relaunch as Fanatics sportsbook? There are a lot of unknowns.

Among those unknowns is Fanatics’ intentions to pursue new market opportunities. For a company valued at nearly $30 billion, finding new states for its freshly-acquired sportsbook product seems like a no-brainer. Still, it’s hard to say whether Fanatics will act fast enough to scoop up an Arizona license. I consider it unlikely unless other operators drag their feet for a year or two.

Sports Illustrated

From its roots in print media (where it dominated the sports writing space for many years), Sports Illustrated has successfully made the leap to the digital era. Sports Illustrated sportsbook launched in Colorado in 2021, then in Virginia and Michigan in 2022.

Considering Sports Illustrated’s efforts to launch in established markets, Arizona seems like a natural next step. The company hasn’t confirmed or even hinted at intentions to launch in the state, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.


UK-based Bet365 made the leap across the pond with launches in New Jersey, Colorado, Ohio, and Virginia. The operator also has sights set on Pennsylvania. Bet365 originally had a partnership in place for Massachusetts sports betting, but it fell through.

Bet365 seems to have its eyes on any market, new or old. Arizona could be a solid play for a European operator looking to play catch-up in the US market share game.


Betr was originally billed as a “micro betting” platform but has since expanded to include core sports betting markets. Famously co-founded by Jake Paul, the brand has a footprint in Ohio, Massachusetts and a partnership in Indiana.

The self-proclaimed disruptive company is likely to pursue licenses in any legal state as it builds from start-up to established sports betting juggernaut. A sports betting state like Arizona should be on its radar.

And More…

Many other brands are expanding their US footprints in the sports betting market, including Tipico and PlayUp. With so many companies fighting for a chunk of the US sports betting revenue, it’s near impossible to properly guess who will come to Arizona next.

Will TwinSpires free up another license?

Fubo’s exit left a gaping hole in the market, but could another open up? TwinSpires announced its departure from the sportsbook business to focus on its online horse racing business. It sunsetted sports betting in a few states, but online sports betting in Arizona remains live. It’s unclear whether TwinSpires intends to shut down sports betting and continue operating its racing platform as part of its existing partnership with the Tonto Apache Tribe.

Should TwinSpires exit the market fully, that’s one more available license up for grabs in the Grand Canyon State. Time will tell.

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Cole Rush writes words. A lot of them. Most of those words can be found in gambling publications such as PlayIllinois, iGaming Business, Gaming Today, Bonus.com, MidwestSharp.com, ICE 365, and IGB North America. Cole also covers pop culture and books for Tor.com and TheQuillToLive.com. Cole has more than eight years of experience writing about gambling and entertainment.

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