PHOENIX — If you build it, they will come. At least that's what teams and sportsbook operators are hoping for when sports betting on games becomes legal in Arizona.
The first official bet can be placed online at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday according to a spokesperson with the state's gaming department.
Sports betting is expected to bring about $15 million into the state's general fund. In all, HB2772, which legalized betting on sports, fantasy sports, and mobile draw games is expected to generate $34.2 million.
Fans can place bets online or in-person at one of the sportsbooks around the state.
"I think people were doing it online anyways so maybe Arizona can benefit from some of the take," said Clay Stidham, a local preacher.
Stidham told ABC15 he likes playing fantasy sports with family members for fun but doesn't mind other people betting. "Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind you know," he said.
The Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Mercury, and Suns have all teamed up with sportsbook operators. The state has only issued licenses to teams and tribes.
"I think we did it the right way with the teams and tribes shoulder-to-shoulder, attaching it to a new compact was brilliant and I think other states are going to follow suit," said Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall.
"But now I think it's important for all of us to practice responsibility -- that we preach it, that we teach it and provide people help when they need it," he added.
The Diamondbacks plan to replace the Game 7 Grill with Caesar's Sportsbook. In the meantime, fans will be able to place bets in-person at the ticketing windows or at other kiosks.
"We've heard from fans for a really long time they've wanted legalized sports betting," Hall said."For years, people wanted to bet, they could find a way but now at least we can control it and see it and raise some revenue for the state which I think is important," said Hall.
Most of the money generated will go back to the state. Fans told ABC15 they want the money to be used on education or fixing the roads.