A few stragglers braved the bitter chill of a 50-degree Thursday morning to make their way down Washington Street towards the day’s Super Bowl LVII activities.
The chosen few were men and women of all ages and backgrounds, but were attracted to Phoenix’s downtown core by the aura of the NFL’s grand event and the hoopla that has taken over the fifth-largest city in America.
As Super Bowl LVII grinds towards kickoff and the 106 players and countless coaches and support staff gear up for the contest, the one constant everyone in town for the Big Game couldn’t miss is what used to be taboo: sports betting and the numerous Super Bowl 57 free bets offered by the state’s operators.
For sports betting industry insiders, such as former ESPN personality and current Caesars Sportsbook Chief Trends Officer Trey Wingo, Sunday’s game between the Chiefs and Eagles presents a golden opportunity for Arizona sports betting.
“I was here when [Arizona launched sports betting] in 2021 and it’s just taken off,” Wingo told BetArizona.com. “And [sports betting] is the future … It’s finally out of the shadows, like everybody used to sort of dance around it. Al Michaels would slip in that a score ‘was a very important point for some people in the desert’ or something like that.
“The best part about gambling being legalized in so many states is now we can talk about it and not pretend like we're not talking about it.”
Signs of Sports Betting Everywhere
Between the multi-story banners draped across skyscrapers burnished with Rob Gronkowski’s face and a FanDuel Sportsbook Arizona logo and branding for chief competitor Caesars Sportsbook Arizona nearby, the ads for America’s biggest sportsbooks are front and center in the Valley.
Much of that stems from Arizona being the first state with legal sports betting to host the Super Bowl.
Wingo sees this weekend’s Big Game as a prime opportunity for Caesars Sportsbook Arizona, which ranks fourth in the state with a sports betting handle of just over $861 million.
“The returns have been extremely favorable. It was an incredible launch day. And you know, people are enjoying it,” Wingo said. “Arizona has been a really good market for Caesars sportsbook and we're expecting it to be a really, really good weekend for us here in Arizona.”
Wingo’s employer currently has the Eagles as a 1.5-point favorite, with a -125 moneyline.
BetArizona.com is the home for all the latest Arizona sportsbook promos, from the Super Bowl to the NBA and more.
What Downtown Looks Like Ahead of Super Bowl LVII
This Sunday’s Super Bowl will be the fourth held in Phoenix, joining Super Bowl XXX, XLII and XLIX.
Wingo was at ESPN for all three and told BetArizona.com the game week atmosphere around the Valley has been much stronger this week than in 1996, 2008 and 2015.
“The NFL does what the NFL always does best, it makes money,” Wingo said of the NFL’s increasing involvement with sports betting operators. “There’s a reason the NFL is a $20 billion a year industry, because they know how to make money.
“And what's the easiest way to make money, find a revenue stream that's already open and make the most of it. And that's exactly what they've done with sports betting.”
A quick tour of the downtown corridor of Phoenix proves Wingo’s point, with references to Arizona sports betting apps on every surface available, including Valley Metro light rail trains and buses.
With the Big Game migrating up US-93 to Las Vegas in 2024, Wingo predicts wagering will become even more entrenched in NFL advertising, with this year’s game a test for the largest professional sports league in America.
“That’s why Caesars Sportsbook is one of the official betting partners of the NFL, and that's not going away,” Wingo said. “We literally have a team in Vegas now. We had the draft in Vegas last year, we're having the Super Bowl in Vegas next year. What we are in is really the top of the first inning in terms of the combination of sports betting integrated with the actual games in the NFL, and it's not going away.
“If anything, it's going to keep building and we're sort of riding that wave right now and finding out exactly where this thing can go.”