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Arizona Off To Strong Start After Sports Betting Launch

Christopher Boan for Bookies.com

Christopher Boan  | 5 mins

Arizona Off To Strong Start After Sports Betting Launch

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The opening 24 hours of Arizona sports betting saw two sportsbook facilities open their doors and at least seven mobile operators take their first wagers.

It was a feat 147 days in the making, from the moment Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed House Bill 2772 into law to when Ducey inaugurated the two facilities with a pair of ceremonial ribbon-cuttings.

Arizona House Bill 2772 and the 2021 gaming compact allowed 20 sportsbook operator licenses to be awarded, split evenly among Arizona tribes and professional sports teams. Eighteen have been handed out. It also legalized daily fantasy sports and Keno games.

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The two facilities opening Thursday - Caesars Sportsbook windows at Chase Field and the FanDuel retail sportsbook at Footprint Center - represent a new era for sports fans in the state, Ducey said.

“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 at the Caesars opening ceremony Thursday. “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.”

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A Winning Achievement

A trio of sportsbooks in Arizona told Bookies.com that Thursday’s opening day was a smashing success, with Arizonans jumping at the opportunity to get in on the sports betting action, either in-person or on their mobile devices.

FanDuel Sportsbook spokesman Kevin Hennessy told Bookies.com that the operator had a great first day in-person and on sports betting apps, showing support for legal sports betting in the state.

“There is a ton of excitement here in Arizona today - there was a line out the door at opening for our new FanDuel Sportsbook lounge at Footprint Center,” Hennessy said. “It’s the only retail sportsbook lounge completed and operational in the state at this time.”

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Caesars Sees Win-Win

Meanwhile, the other sportsbook operator that opened a retail facility in the Valley on Thursday, Caesars, had a similarly upbeat opening day of operation in the state, according to Chris Holdren, who is the co-president of Caesars Digital.

Holdren said in a statement to Bookies.com that Thursday’s opening ceremony at Chase Field was a moment that was worth the wait, with Arizonans flocking to the facility all day long.

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For Holdren, the ability to open a facility in Phoenix and accept wagers via the company’s mobile application is a win-win, given their longstanding relationship with the region.

“Today’s event was a culmination of what we’ve been excited about for quite some time, bringing legal sports betting to the great sports fans in Arizona,” Holdren’s statement read. “Arizona is like a second home for Caesars, and we’ve operated in the state for more than 25 years. We take pride in our brand-new Caesars Sportsbook app being online for day one of sports betting here and we’re ecstatic to offer Arizonans a sports betting experience that can’t be matched.”

WynnBET Thrilled With Response

Thursday’s opening day was also a positive one for Las Vegas-based operator WynnBET, which launched its mobile application in the state on Thursday.

Company spokesperson Seth Medvin told Bookies.com that the company was thrilled with the response from customers in Arizona during the opening 24 hours of operation and that they are eagerly awaiting the response from NFL betting in Week 1.

“It was great to see Arizonans positively interacting and using the WynnBET app,” Medvin said. “We are looking forward to another great weekend with a full college football and NFL slate.”

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A spokesperson for DraftKings Sportsbook told Bookies.com that they saw more than 1.5 million bets from more than 600,000 customers on last night’s Dallas Cowboys-Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL opener, with more than $18 million in winnings for customers that took advantage of the company’s Buccaneers’ +73 promotion.

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Department of Gaming Pleased

The feeling of excitement was mutual for the Arizona Department of Gaming, according to public information officer Maxwell Hartgraves.

Hartgraves could not provide specific data about Day 1 of operation, but told Bookies.com, “the state was successful in rolling out event wagering on our targeted go-live date.”

He shared an infographic showing where bets were placed in the state during the opening hours after Thursday’s launch, giving people an idea of the geographic spread of bettors in the state.

About the Author

Christopher Boan for Bookies.com
Christopher Boan
Christopher Boan has covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, with stops at ArizonaSports.com, Tucson Weekly and Green Valley News.