- Arizona is in the process of expanding state gaming law in introduce additional casino games as well as online/retail sports betting.
- DraftKings will gain market access to Arizona via a partnership with the PGA.
- In addition, DraftKings and the PGA will collaborate on a retail sportsbook at TPC Scottsdale.
With Arizona on the verge of approving sports betting there’s been a big announcement from DraftKings (NASDAQ: DKNG) and the PGA Tour. The daily fantasy sports provider turned sportsbook and the US men’s pro golf organization have jointly issued a press release detailing their plans for an expanded partnership in the soon-to-open Arizona marketplace.
In the Arizona regulatory framework (which I’m studying in-depth as we speak) ‘professional sports organizations’ are allowed to offer retail and mobile sports wagering. In light of that, DraftKings will obtain Arizona market access for mobile betting through the PGA Tour. While this isn’t completely unprecedented–FanDuel obtained market access in Virginia via the NFL Washington Football Team–it is intriguing. You could make a case that the PGA is more similar to a ‘sports governing body’ than to an individual pro team. If that’s the case, it would be the first sports betting market access partnership at a league level.
The more interesting component might be the retail betting partnership: the PGA and DraftKings will collaborate on a ‘one of a kind retail sportsbook’ at the TPC Scottsdale golf facility. According to the press release, the retail sportsbook is a product of the “mutual commitment to fan engagement and innovation” shared by DraftKings and the PGA. Apparently, it’s not a profit deal. In addition, DraftKings will become the ‘exclusive sports betting partner of the Waste Management Phoenix Open’ hosted annually at TPC Scottsdale.
More details are forthcoming but from the sound of it the idea is to make the TPC Scottsdale sportsbook a showcase for both DraftKings and the PGA:
The PGA TOUR and DraftKings plan to create a visually stunning “19th hole” experience at TPC Scottsdale where fans can gather year-round to place wagers, watch sports and enjoy quality food and beverage options. The PGA TOUR and DraftKings are working closely with the City of Scottsdale and the Thunderbirds, the host organization of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, to develop the project and maximize economic, tourism and charitable benefits to the local community. Several locations are being considered at TPC Scottsdale for the retail sportsbook, with details to be announced at a later date.
Ezra Kucharz, chief business officer at DraftKings, had these comments about the expanded partnership with the PGA in Arizona:
“When DraftKings became the first Official Betting Operator of the PGA TOUR last summer, a number of possibilities opened up to innovate together. This momentous effort to pursue a first-of-its-kind sportsbook with the PGA TOUR is a testament to the vision of both organizations that we believe will ultimately benefit Arizona sports fans who want to legally bet on sports.”
Norb Gambuzza, Senior Vice President of Media and Gaming at the PGA TOUR, praised Arizona’s regulatory framework (I’m reserving judgement until I’ve researched it more) and emphasized just how innovative the relationship with DraftKings really is:
“The PGA TOUR commends the State of Arizona and Governor Ducey for their forward-thinking approach to legal sports betting. We are thrilled to work with DraftKings – along with the City of Scottsdale and the Thunderbirds – to explore a one-of-a-kind sportsbook experience at TPC Scottsdale and the world-class Waste Management Phoenix Open. ‘The People’s Open’ is one of the most attended events in golf and with this announcement we look forward to taking the fan experience to another level.”
The PGA Tour really has been ahead of the curve on sports betting relative to other professional sports organizations. Not long after PASPA was repealed they expressed a desire to offer sports betting at PGA Tour events. It now appears as if the Waste Management Phoenix Open will be where that becomes a reality. Golf betting has completely blown up over the past two years and this will only fuel that. All in all, this is great for sports betting on a macro level. Anything that serves to ‘normalize’ sports betting among mainstream fans and the general public will help bring the US market into the 21st Century.
At the time of publication, James Murphy has a long position in DKNG.