A few hundred people milled about outside the forest green iron outfield gates at downtown Phoenix’s Chase Field on Thursday morning after the launch of Arizona sports betting.
Among those were railbirds Jason White and Jason Foster, who made the 15-mile trek south to the ballpark from north Phoenix.
The two gentlemen, sporting T-shirts and ballcaps, said they wanted to come to Chase Field to partake in the first day of legal sports betting in Arizona and the opening of Caesars Arizona sports betting windows at the downtown ballpark.
At least eight operators have been offering bettors Arizona sportsbook promo codes after the launch of sports betting.
Betting in Your Backyard
Both describe themselves as recreational bettors, making occasional trips 300-plus miles northwest to Las Vegas in years past to place a wager at a sportsbook on the Strip.
Now, both plan on staying home, and more importantly for the state’s bottom line, making their wagers at Arizona sportsbooks as well.
“It’s nice to have more freedom, for sure,” White told BetArizona.com. “You can do what you want to do really, and ultimately [sports betting’s] one of those things that people have been doing for a long time. So now it’s just more accessible.”
“I think the people who are betting on sports are mostly sports fans,” White added. “And I think if you’re a sports fan, generally you attend sporting events. I don’t know if it’ll increase attendance to games. But I do think the people that do go to games, the guys who are going to bet, are going to do it more.”
Foster, who described himself as a betting novice, said he’s much more inclined to dip his toes into betting now that it’s legal in Arizona.
“I have a few friends that used to go to Vegas and bet all the time and stuff like that,” Foster said. “I guess I’m learning a little bit. I’m not into it as much as a lot of other people are, but since it’s here, I’ll probably learn and might throw a bet in here or there.”
White added that sports betting should alter the way that fans interact with the games they attend, even if the perk of in-game betting doesn’t necessarily translate directly into increased attendance at Diamondbacks games.
“Just because it’s so much more accessible now. You can do it from your phone. If you’re here at the game, you can throw some money down. But I think the people who do it are going to do it more now, just because it’s so much more accessible now.”
The First of Many MLB Sportsbooks
White’s comments were echoed by Diamondbacks CEO and President Derrick Hall, who told the crowd on Thursday that the Chase Field Caesars facility will be one of many in the coming years.
That’s because Hall, like White, sees Arizona MLB betting as a perk that’ll help fans connect with the sport on a more intimate level, which will serve as a boost for all involved.
“We are the first baseball team with a sports book now to be open, and it's only a matter of time before the other 29 will as well,” Hall said. “But this is indeed a historic day for us. It’s a big day in our state's history. We've often said that if people want to place a bet, if they want to bet on sports, they should be able to.
“And now we have a way of collecting that data-monitoring that data, watching that data, and more importantly we can generate revenues for our state and for the general fund which is brilliant.”