PHOENIX – Legal sports gambling is just a signature away from becoming a reality in Arizona.
The daily fantasy game company DraftKings and the PGA Tour wasted no time in taking the first step in Arizona even before that signature, announcing Wednesday that they will partner on a one-of-a-kind retail sportsbook at TPC Scottsdale – home of the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament.
Gov. Doug Ducey is expected to sign Thursday the legislation that has passed through both houses of the Arizona legislature. Sports fans can expect to find bookmaking operations setting up shop soon at professional sports venues such as Phoenix Suns Arena, Chase Field, State Farm Stadium and Gila River Arena.
On Monday, the Arizona Senate passed Senate Bill 1797, a companion bill to House Bill 2772 that had passed earlier in the Arizona House of Representatives. The legislation authorizes daily fantasy sports games and sports betting within the state, and it opens the door to bookmaking operations on-site during NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA games.
With that news, the WM Phoenix Open, which draws the largest crowds on the PGA Tour, announced it will partner in the bookmaking operation at the TPC Scottsdale. It is expected to be in operation by 2023, when nearby Glendale will host the Super Bowl, which almost always falls in the same week as the golf tournament.
The sportsbook will not be exclusive to the tournament. It will remain open year-round.
“This momentous effort to pursue a first-of-its-kind sportsbook with the PGA Tour is a testament to the vision of both organizations that we believe will ultimately benefit Arizona sports fans, who want to legally bet on sports,” said Ezra Kucharz, DraftKing’s chief business officer.
The plan is to create a visually appealing “19th hole” experience where fans can go to bet, watch sports and enjoy food and drinks, Kucharz said.
While planning is underway to build the venue at TPC Scottsdale, the project will require approval from state and local governments, said DraftKings Director of Communications, Stephen Miraglia.
Customers can expect an immersive sports-betting experience once the plan comes to fruition.
“We’re sure to have tons of flat screen HD televisions, odds boards and tickers, comfortable seats and world-class dining options,” Miraglia said. “Depending on the design, there will likely be a mix of cashier windows and kiosks.”
WMPO Chairman Michael Golding said the tournament has always been a “fan-first” event that bills itself as “The People’s Open.” He said the sportsbook will only enhance that reputation, and bolster the charitable efforts of the sponsoring Phoenix Thunderbirds.
“The real winners in this are the hundreds of Arizona charities who will benefit from proceeds raised from this partnership,” Golding said.
Under the partnership, DraftKings will become the exclusive sports betting partner for the WMPO.
And with the new sportsbook, the Tour and DraftKings are laying their own wager: They’re betting the TPC Scottsdale will become a premier global destination for sports bettors and golf fans alike.