DraftKings Director of Operations Johnny Avello Says Arizona ‘Still Locked In’ on Cardinals

DraftKings Director of Operations Johnny Avello Says Arizona ‘Still Locked In’ on Cardinals

By Christopher Boan

It’s been a solid opening few months of Arizona sports gambling for the folks at DraftKings Sportsbook.

The Boston-based operator lapped the field in the first revenue reports from the Arizona Department of Gaming. DraftKings Sportsbook Arizona raked in close to $250 million in handle during September and October, representing nearly a third of the state’s $777.3 million in handle during the two months.

The strong opening stretch for Arizona betting apps hasn’t been lost on Johnny Avello, who serves as the director of race & sportsbook operations for the operator.

This week, Avello has been focused on the NFL Playoffs. After sparking a strong regular season of NFL betting in the state, the Arizona Cardinals return to the postseason for the first time since 2015.

The Cardinals face the Los Angeles Rams at 6:15 p.m. Arizona time Monday on ESPN. Arizona is +4 (-115) at DraftKings with a moneyline of +160 (the Rams are -190). The over/under is 49.5 total points.


Other Recent Q&As


BetArizona.com chatted with Avello about the Cardinals and the company’s opening two months in Arizona.

Below is a transcript of that conversation, edited for brevity and clarity:

BetArizona.com: In a previous conversation, you discussed how Arizona-focused the state’s bettors seem to be. Is that still the case with the Cardinals, as well as with the Phoenix Suns of the NBA?

Johnny Avello: Oh, definitely. I mean, nothing changed. Going into the season, the Cardinals were only projected to win around nine games, and they ended up winning 11 games. So, they exceeded expectations. And I don't think anybody expected the Cardinals to go undefeated for the year — there were a couple of bumps along the way. You have DeAndre Hopkins’ injury and other things like that. But, if you're looking at the Cardinals, in games on the road, they were 8-1 this year. And I think the fans are still locked in on them. And I think the Arizona contingent’s going to keep betting on their hometown teams. Case in point, I think the ticket count in the Arizona Cardinals playoff game was something like 90%/10%.

BetArizona.com: What is DraftKings’s takeaway from the opening five months of sports betting in Arizona, given the company’s No. 1 position in the state in September/October revenue?

Avello: It’s been excellent. We’re in 17 [states currently], with a couple of retail-only places, but mostly digital. And Arizona's right there in our top offerings. They’re definitely in our top 5. So, Arizona has been great. And I thought it was going to be an outstanding place to have a digital sportsbook. And it's worked out that way. The fans down there, they know sports. They certainly don't have much to root for on the hockey side. But when it comes to basketball and football, they’ve got a couple of pretty good teams down there. So, it's a great place to have an app, with those kind of quality teams in the area.

BetArizona.com: Are there any updates regarding DraftKings’s retail facility that’s opening at TPC Scottsdale?

Avello: We're going to be down there. We're going to be down there the week [of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Feb. 10-13], starting that Monday. And we're going to announce some things during that week. So, I’d say stay tuned on that front.

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WRITTEN BY
BetArizona.com
Christopher Boan
Christopher Boan is the lead writer at BetArizona.com after covering sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.
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Christopher Boan is the lead writer at BetArizona.com after covering sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.
... Read More