Under the terms of the pending Arizona gambling expansion bill yet to receive a signature or veto from Gov. Doug Ducey, gambling companies and sports entertainment entities can partner to offer sports betting at some of the state’s most popular venues. DraftKings Sportsbook and the PGA TOUR have announced their intentions to do exactly that with a TPC Scottsdale sportsbook, host of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Although the two companies had an existing relationship prior to this news, this is groundbreaking in terms of a retail sportsbook on the grounds of a golf course that regularly hosts PGA TOUR events. Arizonians should expect to see more announcements of this kind in the short term, too.
Details of the TPC Scottsdale sportsbook collaboration
Currently, the entire deal is speculative. Until Ducey signs HB 2772 DraftKings and the PGA TOUR can’t put the wheels into motion. When Ducey does sign, though, this deal will have some real value for both parties.
The bill reserves 10 sports betting licenses for entities like the PGA TOUR, giving them not only the room to offer retail wagering but exclusivity zones for online betting as well. DraftKings gets its mobile sportsbook into AZ on a statewide basis as well with this deal.
For the PGA TOUR, the high point of the deal is the retail space at the site of the annual Waste Management Phoenix Open. A press release says the sportsbook will be open year-round, offering beverages and food. The exact location of the sportsbook is still undecided but it could be open as soon as Super Bowl Sunday in 2023.
Conveniently, that’s the next time the Super Bowl is scheduled to be played in AZ. The Waste Management Phoenix Open also usually takes place in February, making for a spectacular launch time. With this in mind, it’s fair to question whether other parties in the state will also take advantage of that timing.
Other retail books could open sooner
If Ducey signs off on HB 2772 this week, that will start a timeline to when online sportsbooks in AZ can actually start taking bets. The AZ Dept. of Gaming will need time to draft further regulations. Then, there will be a process of reviewing license applications, inspecting systems, and operators’ preparing to go live.
An optimistic appraisal has the first books opening their physical and/or virtual doors late this year. It could be later, however. There’s nothing to stop companies from making anticipatory partnerships of this kind, though.
Like the PGA TOUR, we could see the Arizona Cardinals, Diamondbacks and Coyotes, along with the Phoenix Mercury and Suns get in on the action. Representatives from all those sports franchises participated in the legislative process. Personnel representing the Phoenix Raceway did the same.
That means opportunities for a lot of online gambling companies to get into AZ. Like with DraftKings and the PGA TOUR, some of them have an ‘in’ already. For example, FanDuel Sportsbook expanded its deal with the NBA to include sports betting late in 2018.
Retail sportsbooks could open within the next few years at venues like State Farm Stadium and Talking Stick Arena. Right now, whether that happens all rests on whether Ducey complies with expectations.