Q&A With Arizona State Rep. Jeff Weninger on Sports Betting
Lou Monaco | 3 mins
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Rep. Jeff Weninger is serving his fourth term for Arizona legislative District 17. His district includes Gilbert, Sun Lakes and a large portion of Chandler, where Weninger resides with his wife, Janet, and their children. He is the co-owner of two local restaurant concepts: Floridino’s Pizza & Pasta in Chandler, and Dilly’s Deli. He and his wife also take part in philanthropic work with charities for children, veterans, and youth in crisis.
Prior to his election as a state representative, Weninger served on the Chandler City Council for eight years, and held the position of vice mayor.
In the Arizona legislature, Weninger is chairman of the Commerce Committee and currently holds the title of Arizona Capitol Times, “Best Committee Chair.” Most recently, he successfully spearheaded efforts to modernize the state’s 20-year-old gaming compacts to allow for Arizona sports betting. He was also a driving force behind the legalization of to-go alcoholic beverages after the success enjoyed by businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q&A With Rep. Jeff Weninger
Bookies: With the application process just beginning, talk about this journey from bringing about legislation, to Gov. Doug Ducey’s signature to legalize, to the next step in the process this week?
Jeff Weninger: This was something that I have been working on since I was first elected to the legislature. I know that people look at the end vote and think it was a slam dunk, but it was a long and tough process. But it was worth it, and I am thrilled that we are a little more than a month away from legalized sports betting in Arizona. There were many people who helped get this to the finish line, including Gov. Ducey and my partner in the Senate, Sen. T.J. Shope, and too many others to list.
Bookies: Why the necessity for sports betting and sports betting apps in the Copper State, and why was it so important for you guys to get this done?
Jeff Weninger: It was important to modernize gaming in the state of Arizona. There are two main reasons for getting it done and done quickly. The first is that the people of Arizona wanted it. This bill validates what many of my constituents have been asking for for years. The second reason is it helps Arizona stay competitive for tourism, while many other states are legalizing sports betting also.
Bookies: With sportsbooks looking to make partnerships in the state, and with more on the way, what do you hope this means to the citizens of Arizona and to the state economy, not only in the short term, but for the long-term as well?
Jeff Weninger: I believe we will have an increase in engagement in our local sports teams. I also believe it will create more jobs, not just in gaming, but in many sectors including hospitality with the increase in tourism. Then, you will have increased revenues coming into the state and local governments, which can be used for education and other priorities.
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Bookies: If all goes according to plan with launch in time for NFL betting on the new season's opening night on Sept. 9, where will you be for it and what do you think you might bet on?
Jeff Weninger: I will probably be making an NFL futures bet on the Cardinals and the Suns to win the Super Bowl and the NBA title. I will also probably look at the golf odds and bet on Lefty (Phil Mickelson) to win another major in the PGA.