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As expected, most legal sports betting markets in the US ebb and flow with whatever sporting events are happening (or not) in the world, and in Arizona that also holds true, as evidenced by the numbers released Monday that showed a record $692 million handle for March.
That was the highest betting handle ever achieved in the Grand Canyon State since it launched its legal market back in September 2021, and it also represents a 40% uptick from the prior month’s total wagers, a sign that the entire operation is gradually maturing and expanding.
Of course, Arizona Department of Gaming Director Ted Vogt could not be happier, these swollen March numbers an indicator that whatever his group is doing to keep this new market evolving is working, as he recently told the media:
I look forward to seeing how the industry continues to develop as we finish out the first year of legal event wagering in the coming months.
What helped those March numbers, according to Vogt, is college hoops.
Long before the US Supreme Court overturned PASPA in 2018 and opened up legal sports betting to the rest of the country, gamblers put big money on the NCAA’s March Madness Tournament where 64 of the best college basketball teams compete for the championship.
That Final Four Tourney has inspired decades of ‘bracket’ buy-ins that even the most reluctant of gamblers are happy to pitch in on, and now that the March Madness action has been made legal in Arizona, ADG Director Vogt understands that means big money for the state, saying:
March was an exciting month for Arizona event wagering, with major sporting events like NCAA’s March Madness helping set a single month event wagering handle record.
The monthly income stream generated by this new state market is mind-boggling.
Keep in mind that up until last September, Arizona sports betters have been forced to take their action elsewhere, either to illegal bookies, unregulated offshore sportsbooks, or neighboring states where that activity has already been made legal, with all that money fleeing the state.
Now Arizona’s legal sports betting market redirects that money homewards, and in March that meant the sportsbooks turned that $692 million handles into $37.2 million in gross revenue after they paid Uncle Sam for the privilege of operating, but then they had to adjust for the free bets.
To attract new customers, new sports betting markets give away free bets and in return get a tax break during the first couple of years of operation, and in March there were $18.6 million worth of those, bringing total adjusted profits to $18.7 million for the sportsbooks.
That equated to $1.86 million in new tax revenue for the state, and that is just in March, which could mean over $20 million in new money annually to be put towards whatever causes Arizona voters deem worthy, potential revenue that before last September was traveling elsewhere.
There are more NBA finals to go, then the NFL and MLB will start to take over, so expect more flow than ebb in the upcoming months, and it helps that now most AZ bettors can enjoy placing bets from the comfort of their couch using the mobile options that are readily available.
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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]More info on Mike Lukas
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