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Golf gambling guru talks about trends, WM Phoenix Open Sportsbook

TPC Scottsdale DraftKings Sportsbook

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The glitzy new DraftKings Sportsbook at TPC Scottsdale opened in October, but the restaurant and gaming center is enjoying its debut as part of the WM Phoenix Open festivities this week.

The building is impressive, a 13,000-square-foot venue that sits barely a 5-iron away from the TPC Scottsdale clubhouse.

Aside from 40 betting kiosks, seven ticket windows and 3,400 square feet of video walls showing that day’s sports action, there’s also a dining area and a huge sports bar that opens up to a patio with cabanas and firepits.

With the gaudy attendance numbers that the People’s Open consistently boasts, and the soon-to-be for-profit PGA Tour certain to be looking for bigger and better ways to drive revenue in the future, this concept might seem like a natural for more sites, right?

Not according to Johnny Avello, who acts as the face of DraftKings sportsbooks in the role of race and sports director.

Golfweek got some time with Avello before the tournament started, and while he thinks the Scottsdale venue will be a rousing success, he insisted he doesn’t think the idea will spread to other Tour events.

The DraftKings Sportsbook at TPC Scottsdale in Arizona. (Photo: Golfweek)

“I’ve been in the sportsbook business for 37 years and at one point, golf was just another event to throw up. Sure, it handled some money in the majors. They handled the most money. The other tournaments, nobody really cared about.

“Since we’re in the space now and we keep growing, we’ve taken that menu where you just bet the start of golf and that’s it into a part where you can bet on in-game wagers. What’s going on now during the tournament? Will there be a birdie next hole, or will there be a bogey? Who will do better on this particular hole, Golfer A or Golfer B? Just the odds on the entire tournament while it’s going on: the top five, top 10, top 20, that’s what taking golf to new heights.”

Johnny Avello of DraftKings talks with media members at the new site at TPC Scottsdale (Photo: Tim Schmitt/Golfweek)

Everybody kind of does their own form of handicapping and of course, there are pros out there who do extensive handicapping and then there’s people that might say, okay, I’m going to look back at the last two WM tournaments and see who has done well, but maybe didn’t win. And then I’m going to look and see over the last couple of weeks who’s played well and hasn’t…


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