When Arizona legalized sports betting, it was apparent that the people in the state were hungry. Arizona sports bettors had to travel across the border for years to bet on sports. The proximity to Colorado and Nevada helped excited people in the state for legal sports betting.
Sports betting has been happening in Arizona for two months, and the state is already smashing records. Arizona is going to be a very dominant market in the future if this trend continues. With football season coming to a close, sports betting numbers should slightly dip.
However, this betting intermission will be minimal, with March Madness right around the corner. Let’s get into the past two months of Arizona sports betting.
The first two months of financial figures for Arizona sports betting have been released. The numbers were larger than expected, and the state is already smashing records. There were over $291 million in bets placed in September.
This was the largest debut for legal sports betting amongst any jurisdiction in the United States.
This was very impressive, but it was just the tip of the iceberg. Arizona showed its capability in September after just two months of legal wagering. The state generated $486 million in bets in October thanks to football, playoff baseball, and the beginning of basketball and hockey.
Christopher Boan of Bet Arizona spoke about the significance of Arizona’s early sports betting numbers.
He said, “Broke Nevada’s record for the biggest first month in legalized sports betting. You’re gonna keep seeing the ads. I don’t know when they’ll start to dial back again, but if the numbers keep going up, get used to them.”
It’s important to note that some of the handle consisted of free bets. Free bets have been massive in the first two months as new customers take advantage of registration promotions. The free bet money is not taxable, so the state did not benefit based on the entire $777 million for the first two months of betting.
The state collected $1.3 million in cumulative taxes from September and October. The government also received $14 million in licensing fees during the first two months.
State Representative Jeff Weninger, one of the leaders of the Arizona sports betting bill, was extremely happy with the start. He expects Arizona to continue raising the bar for legal sports wagering.
“You’re gonna have fluctuations throughout the year depending on the sports going on. Then you’re gonna have the Super Bowl, where one day makes up for how many other days. I don’t think it hurts that we have a great Suns team and great Cardinals team. That plays into it.”
To put the October handle in perspective, Las Vegas collected $1.1 billion in bets. Arizona did nearly half of this in its second legal month of sports wagering. The betting began when the Buccaneers hosted the Cowboys to begin the 2021 NFL season.
The Road to Now
Arizona went through a lot to legalize sports betting. The first two months of sports wagering showed that Arizona could have been a leading market for years if they acted quickly after the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was deemed unconstitutional in 2018.
There were a lot of problems between the government and tribal nations over sports betting. This delayed the process for an extended period of time.
There are 22 federally recognized Indian tribes in the state. Sixteen of the tribes run 25 total casinos. Arizona sports betting gave tribal nations and professional sports teams the ability to access betting licenses.