Caesar’s and the Arizona Diamondbacks Reach an Exclusive Deal
Just recently, Caesar’s and the Arizona Diamondbacks reach an exclusive deal. It didn’t take long for sports franchises and casino operators in the state of Arizona to spring into action following the passage of HB 2772 and the subsequent signature on the bill by Governor Doug Ducey on April 15th, allowing sports wagering in the state. The bill allows for 20 sports betting licenses, with 10 reserved for tribal casinos and the other 10 to be granted to professional sports franchises that operate in Arizona.
Ducey not only signed HB 2772 into law but also amended the contracts with tribal groups that operate casinos in the state to allow for wagering on sports. While the detailed implementation timeline is still in development, there is a requirement that rules must be drafted within 60 days, and Arizona’s legislature has set the beginning of the football season as a goal to at least have NFL betting up and running.
Expect more deals with other sports betting entities in the state for the rest of the Arizona sports teams in the next 12 months, at the least. Arizona has five professional sports teams, including one in the women’s league, the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). Aside from the Diamondbacks, the Phoenix Suns represent the state in the NBA, the Arizona Coyotes are the state pro hockey team in the NHL, and the Cardinals are repping in the National Football League. The Phoenix Mercury is the Suns’ counterpart in the WNBA.
Arizona’s venture into legalized sports betting
Arizona’s venture into legalized sports betting continues a nationwide trend that began in 2018 with the ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States that gave states the ability to implement wagering in sports if approved by their legislatures. To date, with the Grand Canyon State’s approval, half of the states in the country have approved sports wagering, allowing retail outlets, mobile sportsbooks, or some combination of the two.
The latest announcement is one of a partnership between the Arizona Diamondbacks, the state’s only major league baseball franchise, and Caesar’s (Caesar’s) Entertainment, Inc., a global leader in the gaming-entertainment space both globally and in the United States which operates casinos as well as William Hill retail and mobile sportsbooks. The agreement, which was announced on May 6th in a Caesar’s press release, gives them “exclusive sponsorship in sports betting and daily fantasy sports for the D-Backs.”
With their operation of Harrah’s Ak-Chin Resort and Casino, Caesar’s already has a major footprint in the Phoenix area. While the press release made it clear that Caesar’s will offer online sports wagering through their William Hill mobile application, there is no mention of any plans to open a retail sportsbook at the Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, although that is probably covered under the tribal agreement.
Caesar’s also formalized a deal with Major League Baseball that allows it to be an Authorized Gaming Operator of the organization, and they become a Diamondbacks corporate sponsor, giving them access to marketing materials and other D-Back’s branding. In addition, they will partner with the Diamondbacks to plan, build and operate a sportsbook and broadcast complex on the Plaza at Chase Field outside their home stadium where the Game 7 Grill was formerly located.
The agreement with the Diamondbacks and Major League Baseball follows Caesar’s establishment of a relationship with the NFL, an interesting development given the league’s recent efforts to keep themselves at arm’s length from gambling institutions. There was a time, less than a decade ago when sports franchises and organizations in the United States considered gambling as one of the biggest threats to their competitive integrity. Times and views on sports betting have definitely changed.