On Wednesday, Bally’s announced it has made a deal with the Mercury for market access into Arizona sports betting. The partnership breaks new ground not only for the team but the WNBA and women’s sports.
A Phoenix Mercury casino is planned.
Sports teams like the Mercury are eligible to apply for one of 10 earmarked licenses under Arizona rules. However, until this statement, it was unclear whether the Mercury may seize that chance.
Robert Sarver is the principal owner of both the Mercury and Phoenix Suns. The Mercury and the Suns play their home games at the same venue, Suns Arena.
Arizona’s provisional regulations for sportsbooks do allow sports team owners like Sarver to appoint a designee, however. In that event, the designee, not the sports team, actually holds the license.
That’s how both the Mercury and Suns can have separate licenses despite the common ownership. According to a press release, the deal gives Bally’s access for both online and retail operations.
Assuming the AZ Dept. of Gambling gives its consent, Bally’s will offer its Bally Bet Arizona mobile sports betting app under the Mercury’s license. Bally’s also plans to open a brick-and-mortar sportsbook somewhere near Phoenix Suns Arena.
That would put a third retail book within a tight vicinity in that part of Phoenix. Caesars Sportsbook also plans to run a book near Chase Field under the Arizona Diamondbacks‘ license. Chase Field is a mere few minutes’ walk from Phoenix Suns Arena.
However, saturating city Phoenix with sports betting is perhaps the most crucial component of this engagement. It & rsquo, a significant step for the fusion of women’s sports and gambling.
The uniqueness of this transaction
No women & rsquo sports company had ever gone all-in on sports betting to this extent before this announcement.
For example, the WNBA has sports betting deals with MGM and PointsBet Sportsbook. Those deals mostly involve giving those books access to official league data and trademarks. BetMGMhas a similar deal with the LPGA.
DraftKingsand FanDuel have both previously served as the New York Liberty‘s shirt donors. The Connecticut Sun is owned by the Mohegan Tribe, which manages gambling across several areas. However, in order to carry out this agreement, the Mercury will really need a permit to wager on sports.
That will be the amount of their presence, to be clear. Bally & rsquo, s will handle all of the sportsbook’s day-to-day operations. In this way, it & rsquo is no different from a sports team that obtains permission to sell alcohol at its place and then enters into an agreement with an outside party to manage its concessions.
However, this is the first instance in which a women’s sports team has given an online gaming business access. Given the growth of gambling in new areas, it most likely won’t be the last.