Will two sports books within two blocks of each other in downtown Phoenix work?


For the past 23 years, the Diamondbacks and Suns have been friendly neighbors and, during those few months of their seasons overlapping, friendly competitors for our entertainment dollars.

That relationship will change this fall when the two open for sports betting at their downtown Phoenix locations.

Don’t like the book vibe in the Suns Arena at 201 East Jefferson? Too much people? Are they out of potato skins?

Try sports betting two blocks east of Chase Field, 401 East Jefferson.

“We’re in the sports business, so we’re not afraid of the competition,” said Jason Rowley, President and CEO of Suns. “Put them on and let’s go.”

Rowley was joking, just a little bit, because he also said “there’s more than enough room” for the two sports books, although you wouldn’t sweat, even on a summer day, walking there. ‘to one another.

By “more than enough space” Rowley meant customers who want to bet on sports. It is a sure bet on his part.

Estimates vary, but according to several studies, Americans bet more than $ 150 billion on sports each year, legally and illegally.

Sports betting will become legal in Arizona on September 9 About five months after the Arizona legislature passed and Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill to allow 20 sports books to be opened in the state.

After:Home Office Approved Arizona Sports Betting Deal Now Legal In State

No less than 10 will be operated by sports franchises and another 10 by tribes.

So far, three franchises and / or sports venues have announced plans: the Suns, Diamondbacks and TPC Scottsdale, home of the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament.

The Cardinals and Coyotes are expected to join this group soon, and their books will be right down the street from each other in Glendale.

How popular will these sports books be? Well, no one seems to care that two of them are within two blocks of each other.

“I think there is going to be a strong demand,” said Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall. “I think it’s more the merrier here. I don’t think that would be enough, as it will be such a popular decision for both of our organizations. “

The Suns bookmaker will be located inside the arena and will be operated by FanDuel. The Diamondbacks bookie will be operated by Caesars Entertainment and will be located in the plaza just outside the west side of Chase Field, in a building where no bar or restaurant has ever appeared to operate.

“It’s something that is going to be very attractive and that should hold up,” Hall said.

This is because the success of franchising involvement in gambling is not based solely on the results of actual sports books.

The most important thing is to get the bettors to use the operators’ applications. In Arizona, players can place bets on mobile devices without going into sports betting, although when they are in a specific book and location there is a good chance that they will need to use the debit app. this operator.

“Geo-fenced,” Hall said, referring to the technology that creates a virtual fence around a specific area.

At the Diamondbacks, this will be Caesar’s app.

At the Suns, it would be FanDuel. At TPC Scottsdale, it would be DraftKings.

Outside of the site, bettors will be free to use a variety of apps, much like choosing between Uber and Lyft.

Games and events at the venues “will be a high performing retail sports betting infrastructure,” said Daniel Wallach, Founder A law firm dedicated exclusively to sports betting and helped launch the University of New Hampshire Law School’s Sports Betting and Integrity program.

These events “will not only lead to sports betting in stadiums, but will also catalyze the mobile component,” Wallach said. “It is a very important bulwark of Arizona’s sports betting infrastructure.”

Neither Rawley nor Hall are disclosing details of their agreements with the book operators. The Diamondbacks ‘contract with Caesar’s is 10 years, Hall said, and the Suns’ deal with FanDuel is “a little longer than that,” Rowley said.

Neither would discuss how much money teams could make playing.

“We don’t really know yet, it’s all so new,” Hall said.

Managing expectations is probably wise, but it could be a huge financial boon for Arizona franchises. Not only will their values ​​increase because of gambling, but it will also earn them money in the shorter term.

“What’s unique about Arizona is that it really is the first state to offer direct licensing opportunities for professional sports venues,” Wallach said. “You could have the sports books on a sports site, and that’s the case in Illinois, Washington DC, but Arizona is the first to actually allow those sites to be operators themselves.

“Arizona will be one of the great successes in being able to merge the casino industry and the professional sports industry,” he said.

Rowley and Hall have agreed that the opening of sports betting this fall will benefit the teams, downtown Phoenix and the fans.

“We are great friends and great competitors,” Rowley said. “At the end of the day, this is one of those situations where you can say that a rising tide lifts all boats.

This can and will be debated. And there are unintended consequences, good and bad, with most new businesses.

There will likely be enough business for all sports books to thrive, including those just two blocks away.

But anyone who has made a bet, legal or otherwise, knows that the only boat that consistently catches a rising tide is home.

Join Kent Somers at [email protected] Follow him on twitter @kentsomers.

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