Arizona Sports Betting Debut Smashes US Records as First Revenue Results Finally Arrive

  • Arizona mobile and retail operators reported $777m in wagers combined for September, October
  • September total of $291.2m set a new record among US states debuting sports betting in 2021
  • October total broke Nevada’s record for the highest handle made by a state in its first month
  • DraftKings topped the mobile market with $248.7m in wagers for the two months
  • Sources believe Arizona will be the fastest to hit $1bn in handle
Arizona Cardinals foam fingers
Industry experts expect Arizona to be the fastest US state to hit $1bn in sports betting handle after it broke records for its first two months. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

ADG finally releases results

Arizona retail and online sports betting has come out of the blocks smoking, leaving broken US records in its wake, as the Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) finally reported revenue results for the market’s first two months.

The state’s nine mobile operators and two retail venues reported more than $777m in wagers combined for September and October, according to numbers the ADG released Friday.

Sharing the respective September, October handle of $291.2m and $486.1m via Twitter, vice president of digital content at VSiNLive Ben Fawkes asserted Arizona was “going to be a huge market.”

Arizona’s September total set a new record among the six states that rolled out debut commercial legal sports betting operations through the first 11 months of 2021.

Arizona also broke Nevada’s record for the highest handle achieved by a state in the first month of launch.

Arizona’s October handle ranked seventh among the 24 US states taking wagers, and helped boost the national sports betting handle for the month to a record-smashing $7.5bn.

Online on top

According to the ADG’s figures, mobile sports betting produced 99% of Arizona’s total $777m handle. Retail sportsbooks — which include FanDuel and Caesars — contributed $9.8m in bets. Sportsbooks making their Arizona bow included Barstool Sports, BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel, TwinSpires, Unibet, and WynnBet.

For September and October DraftKings took the mobile market crown with $97.7m and $151m in wagers, respectively. For the same time period, FanDuel was next on $57.7m and $115m, respectively. In contrast to the big name sportsbooks, Barstool only managed $13m and $26m for the two respective months.

encouraging for the industry to see such a strong debut”

Gambling Insider cites the lead analyst for PlayAZ, C. J. Pierre, as asserting: “Arizona has enormous potential as a market, but it is encouraging for the industry to see such a strong debut. Setting a record in the first month would qualify as getting the market off on the right foot.”

Pierre then posited how fast Arizona could up its ante to take on the more established sports betting markets. By the looks of things, the analyst surmised, it “won’t take long.”

Arizona’s action-packed year

When Governor Doug Ducey legalized sports betting in Arizona by signing HB 2772 into law in April, which allowed for professional sports teams to operate sports wagering, momentum gathered relatively fast.

Although HB 2772 allowed both pro entities and the state’s tribal casinos to operate sports wagering, the ADG only had ten licenses to hand out to tribes. One of the six tribes the ADG didn’t invite to the party, the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe (YPIT), tried to derail the state’s sports betting market before launch by having HB 2772 declared unconstitutional. The tribe lost their injunction request on September 5, and the market launched mere days later on September 9.

Despite unforeseen delays in the ADG releasing the September/October numbers, the hype of expectation surrounding Arizona’s market entry proved justified. The state has right off the bat become a top ten US market, and industry sources widely believe Arizona will be the quickest to hit $1bn in handle when the ADG eventually releases its November figures.