SAHUARITA, Ariz. (KGUN) — Desert Diamond Casinos & Entertainment launched two retail sportsbook locations Thursday, one in Sahuarita and one in Glendale.
A third location in Tucson is currently being developed.
“Sports betting has really happened very quickly throughout the country. And it’s still early for us,” said CEO Mike Bean after a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Sahuarita location. “It was important for us to be able to compete and be able to provide this additional amenity.”Casino del Sol opened Tucson’s first retail sportsbook, SolSports, last month. Both casino brands are also working on plans for mobile sports betting.
The Desert Diamond Sahuarita sportsbook is part of the sports bar area, with sleek electronic kiosks available for wagerers. Large televisions with betting lines and information for different sports sit on the walls above.
Arizona legalized retail and mobile sports betting in September, but the process to officially open the retail sportsbooks requires a lengthy regulatory process.
“A lot of the end product that you see around us is really the front end of it, but there’s a lot of ‘back of the house,’ dealing with the regulatory compliances,” said Tohono O’odham Gaming Management Board Chairman Justin Manuel.
“A lot of negotiating. A lot of bringing the leadership together. Not only for our tribe, but all of the tribes in Arizona,” said Tohono O’odham Nation Vice Chairwoman Wavalene Saunders.
Manuel described the launch as a “win-win” for the tribe and local community.
Not only do sports gamblers have a new location to place bets while watching games, but the Tohono O’odham Nation leaders believe the revenue will lead to new jobs and other crucial improvements on tribal lands.
“More scholarships… more services, addressing more needs within our Nation’s boundaries regarding health care, police, fire, education,” Saunders said. “You name it, the needs are out there.”
Desert Diamond Casinos resumed 24/7 gaming at the Sahuarita and Tucson locations last month for the first time since the pandemic began.