Arizona on Wednesday approved HB 2772, a bill that for the first time allows sports betting both on and off Indian reservations, opening the door for gambling at sporting events in the state.
On Thursday, Gov. Doug Ducey made things official with the signing of an amended tribal gaming compact and associated legislation, which authorizes a wide-ranging expansion of legal gambling, including sports betting.
Arizona Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall joined Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf on Thursday to explain just what it means for fan engagement and interaction moving forward.
“For a fan, he’s still gonna want to sit there if he’s at a football game and it’s 28-7 late, they’re still gonna be there maybe doing prop bets or having a little fun with their bet that they had before the game,” Hall said. “Same with baseball, if you’re 10-1 in the fifth, you’re still gonna want to be there. Each of these teams will have the ability to have their own sportsbook there as well, so you’re gonna get foot traffic. It could impact our attendance.
“It’s a win-win for everybody, but most importantly the engagement and I would also say the tax revenue that’s now accessible and we can acquire for the state. We’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars for the state and the general fund.”
The amount of new revenue the state could receive hasn’t been officially estimated, but Rep. Jeff Weninger, a Chandler Republican who sponsored the bill, said it could easily exceed $100 million per year for the general fund.
Hall added Arizona teams have wondered when and if sports gaming would eventually make its way to the state since the Supreme Court overturned the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018, allowing states the opportunity to conduct sports betting.
“It makes a lot of sense to do it the way we did as a state, working closely with our partners at the tribes who already have casinos and who have opened up their compact with new opportunities for them,” Hall said.
“Having the teams or the facilities through the licensees working with operators so that each of the sports is projecting the integrity of our sports and of our data. It makes a great deal of sense. I’m really proud of the lawmakers and of the governor.”
But what exactly will legalized sports betting look like in the Valley?
“Everybody will have mobile capability too, their operators will. They’ll have an actual retail sportsbook somewhere close to or within the proximity of the sports facility, arena, stadium,” Hall said. “If you look at each case, you go to State Farm or downtown with us or the Suns, the Coyotes. Everyone’s gonna have at least the opportunity for a sportsbook.
“And then the mobile … there will be accessibility inside a stadium and out. You’ll have the choice as the consumer which site you want to use, which app you want to use. We’re all going to have our own through our partner.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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