BetMGM Wins Race to Become First Sportsbook at an NFL Stadium

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Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals warms up before a game against the Rams. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images/AFP

BetMGM has won the unofficial race to be the first betting provider announcing a sportsbook at an NFL stadium. Legal sports betting venues have opened up in basketball, hockey and baseball stadiums around the country but State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona represents the first NFL venue to sign on with a betting provider for wagering services in their building.

BetMGM’s move into the Arizona legal sports betting scene comes even though a launch of the state’s platform hasn’t quite become official. The Arizona sports betting platform launch is expected on September 9, in time for the kickoff of the NFL season. It creates a crucial partnership for the sports betting provider with not only the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals and the Gila River Indian Community, with whom the NFL franchise has already established a relationship.

Chief Executive Officer at BetMGM, Adam Greenblatt stated: “Arizona sports fans are extremely passionate and we’re confident they’ll enjoy the BetMGM experience. Gila River Hotels & Casinos and the Arizona Cardinals represent the state’s premier casino destinations and sports franchise, making them the ideal partners for us.”

The Gila River Indian Community Connection

There had been a widespread understanding that BetMGM was going to tether itself to the Gila River Indian Community to operate sportsbooks in its three existing Arizona casinos – Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte in Chandler and Vee Quiva in Laveen. There is currently another retail sportsbooks in the works for the Community and BetMGM will be a part of that once the facility is up and running.

The Arizona Cardinals’ addition to the equation wasn’t initially foreseen but makes sense because of the Tribe’s prior relationship with the pro sports franchise.

”Gila River Hotels & Casinos and the Arizona Cardinals have an everlasting partnership, offering guests exclusive experiences and remarkable rewards,” Gila River Hotels & Casino CEO Kenneth Manuel said in the release. “As we explored our partner in sports betting, the unity with BetMGM, The King of Sportsbooks, ensures we deliver beyond all expectations.”

BetMGM and Arizona

With Monday’s announcement, BetMGM became the 10th operator to secure market access in Arizona. The betting operator also becomes the fifth major sports betting operator to align itself with one of the state’s Tribes. The deal is the first between a tribe, a sports betting operator and a North American professional sports franchise.

The deal immediately gives BetMGM four venues to launch their mobile sports betting product, including two mobile licenses – the most of any major operators so far that have entered the Arizona market. BetMGM’s mobile app will be available throughout the state once the state’s platform goes live.

It means that the sports betting operator will have an immediate advantage in what is expected to be a robust and successful market.

Arizona Scene Taking Shape

As mentioned, five of Arizona’s tribes have signed on with betting providers in the state. BetMGM is aligned with Gila River Indiana Community, Kindred (Unibet) has signed on with Fort Yuma Quechan Indian Tribe, PointsBet and Yavapai-Apache Nation have a partnership in place, TwinSpires and Tonto Apache Tribe have an agreement and WynnBET will tether themselves to San Carlos Apache Tribe’s operations.

Arizona’s professional sports teams have also been busy lining up sports betting operator partnerships. Bally’s and WNBA Mercury have teamed up, Barstool Sportsbook and NASCAR/Phoenix Raceway have agreed upon a partnership deal, BetMGM and NFL Cardinals signed Monday, Caesars and MLB Diamondbacks have agreed on a partnership framework and the two DFS giants-turned sports betting provider monsters have aligned with the PGA/TPC Scottsdale and the NBA Suns.

We Know the What but What About the When?

Monday was the last day for licenses to be submitted to the state, putting it on track for the desired September 9. That’s when retail and mobile sports betting will hopefully goes live, barring any unforeseen setbacks.

As for the BetMGM Sportsbook at State Farm Stadium, the entities involved are pointing toward the start of the 2022 NFL season for launch. The 2022 season becomes more significant due to the fact that State Farm Stadium will host Super Bowl LVII in February 2023.

Until that time, BetMGM will ride with their three Gila River-backed locations.