GENERAL NEWS

TPC Scottsdale plans sportsbook after Arizona passes gambling bill

Apr 14, 2021, 8:43 AM
Jon Rahm of Spain hits his tee shot on the 16th hole during the first round of the Waste Management...
Jon Rahm of Spain hits his tee shot on the 16th hole during the first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on February 04, 2021 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The PGA TOUR and DraftKings announced Wednesday that they will expand their relationship into Arizona’s sports betting space to operate retail and mobile betting services in the state.

They also announced a planned sportsbook location that will be open year-round at TPC Scottsdale, pending approvals.

The groups are planning what they call a “19th hole experience” at the venue, where fans can place wagers, watch live sports and enjoy food and beverages.

Such news comes after the Arizona Legislature on Monday approved HB 2772, a bill that will bring new opportunities for gambling at casinos owned by Native American tribes and for the first time allow sports betting both on and off reservations.

“When DraftKings became the first official betting operator of the PGA TOUR last summer, a number of possibilities opened up to innovate together,” DraftKings chief business officer Ezra Kucharz said in a press release. “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.”

The groups are working with the City of Scottsdale and the Thunderbirds, who host the PGA TOUR’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, to develop the project. The exact location of the sportsbook at TPC Scottsdale will be announced at a later date.

“The PGA TOUR commends the State of Arizona and Governor Ducey for their forward-thinking approach to legal sports betting.” PGA TOUR senior vice president of media and gaming Norb Gambuzza said in a release. “We are thrilled to work with DraftKings — along with the City of Scottsdale and the Thunderbirds — to explore a one-of-a-kind sportsbook experience at TPC Scottsdale and the world-class Waste Management Phoenix Open.

“‘The People’s Open’ is one of the most attended events in golf and with this announcement we look forward to taking the fan experience to another level.”

With the agreement, DraftKings will hold sole rights as the sports betting partner of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which is held at TPC Scottsdale.

The Arizona Senate approved a bill passed last month by the House, sending it to Gov. Doug Ducey, who negotiated the package and urged lawmakers to approve it.

The bill allows betting on professional and college sports at sites owned by pro sports teams and at tribal casinos. It also allows gambling on fantasy sports and new Keno games at horse race tracks and fraternal organizations.

Passage of the legislation allowing for the project is tied to the updated gaming compact Ducey has struck with tribes but has not released to the public.

In his January State of the State address, Ducey announced “an opportunity for a modernized gaming compact that will bring in more revenue for our tribal nations and our state budget.” The governor has been working on a new deal with tribes for several years, hoping it can boost state revenue by allowing gambling outside of tribal-run casinos.

The biggest part of the plan would allow pro sports teams like the Arizona Coyotes, Arizona Diamondbacks and Arizona Cardinals to run sports betting operations at their respective venues, at a retail location within a quarter mile and online. There would be 10 licenses awarded to sports, which could even include NASCAR.

Tribes would also get 10 licenses and could run sports books at two dozen tribal casinos in the state.

The tribes, which have fiercely protected their exclusive right to host gambling in the state under the gaming compact approved by the state’s voters in 2002, get the right to build some new casinos under an updated deal. And in a big win, they would also be allowed to greatly expand their exclusive gambling offerings, adding games like Baccarat and craps to existing offerings of slot machines, blackjack and poker.

And there are options for online gambling as well, allowing growing online gambling sites like Draft Kings to piggyback on the licenses.

The state would allow any company that meets it standards to run fantasy sports gambling operations.

Both the legislation and a 20-year extension of the state’s gaming compact with tribes must be adopted for either to go into effect.

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.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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