A Grand Opening in Arizona For Sports Betting & Caesars
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A who’s who of Arizona dignitaries and sports figures coalesced around a lectern outside the main gates of downtown Phoenix’s Chase Field to harken a new era for Arizona sports betting.
The cadre gathered to celebrate the opening of a temporary sports betting window at the stadium, which will be replaced by a 7,400-square-foot Caesars Sportsbook inside the former Game 7 Grill in early 2022 in time for the new MLB season to begin.
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Those who spoke at Thursday’s event included Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, Arizona Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall and Caesars Entertainment Chief Financial Officer Eric Hession.
Those placing bets included former ESPN broadcaster Trey Wingo, chief trends officer and brand ambassador for Caesars (an NHL futures bet on the Coyotes to win the 2022 Stanley Cup); JB Smoove, actor-comedian (Mercury to win the 2021 WNBA Finals); former Diamondback star Luis Gonzalez (an NFL futures bet on the Cardinals to win Super Bowl 56) and Hall (an NBA futures bet on the Suns to win the 2022 NBA Finals).
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A New Era in Arizona
Ducey heralded Thursday’s opening day for sports betting in Arizona as the start of a new era for sports fans in the state.
He discussed how the 2021 gaming compact, which allocated 20 licenses to Arizona professional sports teams and tribes, paved the way for Thursday’s event, and shines a light on the bright future that gaming has in the state.
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“I think everybody knows that in March I joined with lawmakers, tribal leaders and stakeholders to sign a tribal gaming compact that modernized where we were as a state,” Ducey said. “This amendment allows us to move forward with gaming in Arizona and bring additional revenues for the state and for our tribal nations.
“This represented some of the most significant changes in gaming, in almost two decades, and this is what paved the way for a sportsbook like this here in Arizona.”
Ducey said that the Chase Field sportsbook location will be a game-changer for the franchise and for MLB betting when it opens in 2022, becoming the first sportsbook located on the grounds of an MLB stadium.
“The Caesars sportsbook will be an exciting new offering to get more fans engaged as it continues to reach new heights,” Ducey said. “Now Arizonan's can visit places like this sports book, and not only watch the game, but wager on the team.
“And what better place than our old ticketing window. Another example of the past meeting the future.”
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The First of Many MLB Sportsbooks
Hall touched on a similar topic during his time at the lectern to discuss how the D-backs would soon be far from the only MLB franchise with a sportsbook attached to their stadium.
He told the crowd how the Caesars facility in downtown Phoenix will serve as a blueprint to other teams in MLB and in other leagues, as sports betting becomes more embedded in the American sports landscape.
“We are the first baseball team with a sportsbook now to be open, and it's only a matter of time before the other 29 will as well,” Hall said. “But this is indeed a historic day for us. It’s a big day in our state's history. We've often said that if people want to place a bet, if they want to bet on sports, they should be able to.
“And now we have a way of collecting that data, monitoring that data, watching that data, and more importantly, we can generate revenues for our state and for the general fund which is brilliant.”
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A Model for the Nation
Hall told the crowd that the gaming compact that Arizona signed this year should be a blueprint for the rest of the country, in implementing sports betting on a widespread scale.
Standing at the lectern, Hall glanced over the soon-to-be sportsbook facility, located about 100 yards outside the gates of the stadium, and voiced what went well for the franchise and their partners, in making a day like Thursday possible in the first place.
“We've really developed the model now for the other states. We've had so many states asking, ‘How did you do it,’ and, ‘Can we follow that playbook,’” Hall said. “And I hope they can, because we know that every state eventually will legalize sports betting.
“But it was the idea of partnering all of our teams with the tribes and attaching it to the extension of a compact, and it worked out beautifully.”