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NFL legends bring shine to Desert Diamond Casino’s Sahuarita sportsbook

Eric Dickerson and Christian Okoye greet fans at the Desert Diamond Casino sportsbook in Sahuarita.
Posted at 10:18 PM, Dec 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-19 00:18:41-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Arizona legalized sports betting this fall, and Tucson-area casinos are pushing all of their chips in.

Desert Diamond Casino’s new Sahuarita sportsbook got a celebrity celebration on Saturday, with Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson and former all-pro fullback Christian Okoye signing autographs and snapping pictures with fans.

“Sports makes everybody happy,” Okoye said. You know, when people get involved in sports, it makes them happy… When you see them and greet them, everybody smiles about that.”

“I met a lady from close to my hometown in Texas,” Dickerson said. “She’s from Katy, Texas. I’m from Sealy, Texas. Never thought that would happen in Tucson.”

The two are endorsing the new spot for fans to get into sports betting.

“It’s exploding, you know?” Okoye said of the industry. “That’s the right word for it. It’s exploding. And I think it will get bigger.”

“You know, people bet anyway, and I knew that was gonna be a big part of it,” Dickerson said. “And I think since the National Football League has gotten involved, you know it’s just blown up.”

“People that weren’t even betting before are now getting into it,” Okoye added. “So it’s open to everybody and everybody’s getting involved too.”

The Sahuarita casino’s electronic sports betting kiosks, with a multitude of leagues and prop bets to choose from, have been open for two weeks.

“Our guests love ‘em, it’s been an overwhelming success,” said Treena Parvello, director of government and public relations for the Tohono O'odham Gaming Enterprise. “We’re super excited to be able to continue to grow and offer a variety of different experiences. We’re so proud of our team members.”

Desert Diamond’s locations in Sahuarita, Tucson and Glendale plan to gradually roll out more kiosks, an over-the-counter retail sports book, and eventually an app for mobile betting.