The odds of winning big prizes playing Arizona Lottery games are long. The odds of ever seeing an Arizona Lottery vaccine incentive seem even longer right now. At this point, there are no plans for free tickets or any other promotions connected to receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.
That doesn’t necessarily mean other parties in the state are shying away from the trend. As a matter of fact, one potential AZ gambling licensee is already in on the phenomenon of giving freebies for shots.
No Arizona Lottery vaccine incentive on the horizon
Other state lotteries have gone all-in on this plan. For example, New York just extended its program offering free scratch-off tickets at 10 COVID-19 vaccination sites. According to Steve Elliott of the AZ Dept. of Health, however, that isn’t in the cards right now.
“We are aware of incentives offered by other states, and this is something we continue to explore while applauding creative incentives offered by private organizations,” Elliott shared with ABC 15 Phoenix’s Nicole Grigg. “This challenge calls for a community response and we are grateful to the many partners who have already stepped up.”
The AZ Dept. of Health is instead prioritizing getting better availability into the state’s rural areas. For example, the state plans to close its large vaccination sites by June 28. Those resources will shift toward doctors’ offices and smaller clinics.
Events in more urban areas in AZ will continue for the next few weeks. One of those is taking place at a venue that has recently been in the news because of its connection to gambling expansion in AZ.
Diamondbacks getting into the game
Last Saturday the Arizona Diamondbacks hosted a vaccination event. In exchange for getting stuck, fans got to run the bases, got their photos taken, and received vouchers for free game tickets. They offered a similar event early in May as well.
These events were in addition to ongoing digital campaigns advocating for fans to get vaccines. Chase Field will have another reason for people to gather later this year. The Diamondbacks and Caesars Entertainment have a deal to open a retail sportsbook near the stadium, pending regulatory approval.
When that venue opens, the Diamondbacks will benefit from the confidence that vaccinations will give fans to gather in public places again. As the potential license holder for the Caesars Sportsbook, they will get a cut of the profits from Arizona sports betting.
That might be the sum total of the intersection of gambling interests and COVID-19 vaccinations in AZ. Right now, the lottery seems to have no interest in stepping up to that plate.