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AZ’s First Two Months of Sports Betting Provides Record Payout for Sportsbooks

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated October 14, 2022
11 min read
Arizona Sportsbook Record
  • Arizona Generates Record $777M Handle in First Two Months of Legal Gambling
  • AZ Pro Sports Teams and Native Tribes Operate In-person and Mobile Betting Sites
  • State Senator Ugenti-Rita on AZ’s Sports Betting Take: “The Public Got Screwed.” 

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After a bit of delay, Arizona’s sports betting numbers are in, and it looks like the sportsbooks are the big winners thereafter generating a record $777 million handles during the first two months of business, those operators winning almost $70 million of that money back from gamblers.

Eric Ramsey, the lead data analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, was quick to point out that these huge numbers are only just the beginning, telling reporters:

 Arizona’s debut is unlike anything we have seen in the US It’s important to remember that as impressive as these first two months were, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Arizona will no doubt become one of the nation’s top markets as it continues to mature.”As a result, out of that $777 million two-month handle that earned sportsbooks $70 million in revenue generated less than $1 million in fees for the state of Arizona, with most of the anticipated fees being offset by those customer gathering freebies they gave away.

That lack of initial state revenue makes some lawmakers like AZ Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita furious, who shared via Twitter:

This is exactly why I voted against expanding gambling. The public got screwed. They lost $32M & the state received nothing. The real winners are the gluttonous sports teams that leach off their fans. The rich getting richer will be legacy of (Gov. Doug Ducey).

Of course, those write-offs will gradually recede and then will no longer be possible after year six, so eventually, the applicable fees will be fully paid, and as the market grows so will Arizona’s take, or else lawmakers will make the necessary changes.

Copper State bettors can gamble on sports in-person or by using one of the apps the sportsbooks have made available, Arizona joining over half the other states in the US who have in some way legalized sports betting.

In Arizona, sports betting licenses went to a select group.

AZ Pro Sports Teams and Native Tribes Operate In-person and Mobile Betting Sites

According to the sports betting legislation that Arizona governor Doug Ducey signed into law in April 2021, twenty licenses are to be made available divided equally between the state’s tribal operators and Arizona’s professional sports teams and venues.

Currently, eighteen of those licenses are up and running in the state, and Arizona operators include the Navajo Nation, Tohono O’odham Nation, and Arizona: Coyotes, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, and Rattlers among others.

These tribes and sports teams are partnered up with some major sportsbooks, including FanDuel, DraftKings, WynnBet, Caesars, BetRiver, BetMGM, Barstool, and more, all creating a competitive market that gives Arizona bettors a wide choice of odds and wagers.

The revenue being generated by sports betting in Arizona is mind-boggling, but some lawmakers are not happy with how that money is benefitting the state.

State Senator Ugenti-Rita on AZ’s Sports Betting Takes: “The Public Got Screwed.”

The way the sportsbooks did their accounting these first two months of operation benefitted them financially because they were able to avoid paying the majority of their fees to the state because they were permitted to write off the free and promotional bets they had initially offered gamblers.

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Mike Lukas

1204 Articles

Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]

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