PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Legal sports betting in Arizona is just one signature away. Once SB 1797 becomes law, one Valley sports team believes betting will actually boost attendance at games. Lawmakers estimate sports betting and wagering would bring in hundreds of millions of dollars for Arizona.
One of the major teams here that would benefit is the Arizona Diamondbacks. The team calls it an opportunity that also comes responsibility. Play ball! And maybe make a bet on it too.
"It's something that can be watched, it can be monitored, it can be regulated, and the state can also benefit from it," said Arizona Diamondbacks CEO and President Derrick Hall.
Hall is excited about this likely opportunity after the Arizona Senate passed the sports betting bill Monday night, leaving just a signature from the governor to make it legal. "It gives fans something to do before, after the game, and then in the game, the mobile interaction certainly helps too, so I think it could have an impact on attendance too I would hope," he said.
But Hall also understands the accountability leagues and teams need to have moving forward. "We have to make sure we have measures in place and that we're certainly educating fans so that they're gaming responsibly. I do think that's on us," Hall said.
He said they're going to work closely with their operators to make sure warning signs are in place as well as other safeguards. "They've told us that there are ways for them to really red flag overuse in their opinion," he said.
Overall, the green light from the Legislature is revving up excitement from other professional sports leagues too. NASCAR released this statement to Arizona's Family:
"NASCAR views legalized sports betting as a tool to enhance fan interest and engagement, and we're enthusiastic about the opportunity this presents to our league as well as other professional teams and leagues in Arizona. NASCAR has a passionate and loyal fan base in Arizona, and this legislation will offer them even more ways to experience our sport while benefitting both state and local economies."
And popular sports and fantasy sports betting site DraftKings sent us this statement Tuesday:
"We want to thank the Arizona Legislature, and in particular Rep. Jeff Weninger and Sen. Thomas 'T.J.' Shope Jr., for passing HB 2772 that will bring sports betting, including mobile, and fantasy sports to Arizona, pending action from Governor Doug Ducey. We look forward to potentially introducing Arizona sports fans to our top-rated DraftKings' DFS and mobile sportsbook products."
- Griffin Finan, Vice President- Government Affairs and Associate General Counsel
Gov. Ducey tweeted his support for the bill Monday night and is expected to sign it, which would make 10 licenses available for professional sports teams and 10 available to Arizona tribes. Because the bill passed in the Senate with an emergency clause, if the governor does sign it, it would immediately become law, and Arizonans could be able to legally place bets in a matter of months.