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Kambi To Power Arizona Retail, Mobile Sports Betting For Desert Diamond Casinos

James Murphy
by in Gaming Industry on
  • Kambi will power mobile and retail sports betting for Arizona’s Desert Diamond Casinos.
  • Desert Diamond Casinos & Entertainment is a gaming enterprise of the Tohono O’odham Nation.
  • Kambi technology already powers mobile betting in Arizona for Penn National Gaming, Kindred Group’s Unibet and Churchill Downs’ TwinSpires along with retail betting at the Tonto Apache Tribe’s Mazatzal Casino.

Arizona sports betting continues to expand despite the fact that at the regulatory level it does little more than serve the needs of state politicians’ political cronies and financial benefactors. Amid this sleaze, there is a fairly decent sports betting ecosystem coming together. Granted, it could be one of the best in the US were it not for the closed door machinations of state government. Instead, they get–as I described it earlier this year:

…a mishmash of dimwitted incompetence and sheer imperiousness on the part of the state’s political elite. In particular, the process of license allocation is nothing more than shameless cronyism and log-rolling with a veneer of objectivity slapped on create some ‘plausible deniability’.

Hopefully, the regulatory mess will get cleaned up at some point but in the meantime life goes on. One of the companies that has really become a player in the US sports betting ecosystem is Stockholm based gaming technology provider Kambi. In addition to powering sports betting all over the US–as well as internationally–they’re off to a good start in Arizona as well. Already in Arizona, Kambi powers mobile/online betting for Penn National Gaming, Kindred Group’s Unibet and Churchill Downs’ TwinSpires, as well as a retail sportsbook for Churchill Downs’ TwinSpires in partnership with the Tonto Apache Tribe’s Mazatzal Casino.

They’ve now added another client to their portfolio. Kambi has signed a multi-year partnership with Desert Diamond Casinos, an enterprise of the Tohono O’odham Nation, that will see them power retail sportsbooks at three properties along with online/mobile statewide. Desert Diamond Casinos is the largest tribal gaming operator in the state. Kambi will power the retail sportsbooks at the Desert Diamond properties in West Valley, Sahuarita, and Tucson, Arizona. The retail sportsbook will include a full service operation along with betting kiosks. They’ll also provide the technology for an online/mobile sportsbook under the newly created entity of Desert Diamond Mobile LLC. The retail sportsbooks are expected to launch by the end of the year with the online component likely to launch in Q1 of 2022.

Kristian Nylén, Kambi Chief Executive Officer, is happy to expand his company’s footprint in Arizona:

“We are very proud to partner with Desert Diamond Casinos & Entertainment, a deal which further strengthens Kambi’s strong relationship with tribal casino operators. Desert Diamond Casinos is renowned for offering world-class gaming and entertainment experiences and complements Kambi’s strategy to partner with market leaders. We look forward to working with them closely to deliver high-quality and exciting sports betting experiences to both its on-property patrons and online customers in the state of Arizona.”

Mike Bean, CEO, Desert Diamond Casinos & Entertainment, spoke of Kambi’s reach and international experience providing sports betting technology:

“We are delighted to sign this multi-year agreement with Kambi, which has a proven track record in sportsbook provision across the globe. This exciting partnership provides Desert Diamond with the ability to leverage its long standing, well-regarded brand to provide our guests with a leading sports betting product across multiple channels.”

Tohono O’odham Nation, which operates the Desert Diamond Casinos, was one of 10 Arizona tribes that was awarded a license to offer sports betting by the Arizona Department of Gaming. The problem isn’t with the tribal properties (and to a lesser extent the professional sports organizations) that were licensed, the problem is the ones that weren’t. Fifteen Arizona tribes applied for the licenses and there has been zero transparancy as to the decision making process or licensing criteria. In absence of this information, it sure looks like a very arbitrary process. The fact that the state has refused a number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to get more clarity about the licensing process does little to suggest that choices were made based on objective criteria. Making the entire process even more sleazy–tribes were required to pay a $100,000 USD nonrefundable application fee despite the fact that they had a 50/50 chance of not being approved and facing vague standards and a convoluted process.

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