Hot Start In Arizona Helping To Fuel Sports Betting Growth in the US

Written By C.J. Pierre on October 21, 2021

It’s been a little over a month since legal sports betting launched in Arizona. The NFL season is off and running, the NBA has begun, and we are in the middle of an exciting MLB postseason.

With all of that, sports wagering in the Grand Canyon State is off to a hot start.

Although it is one of many states just getting into the regulated betting business, Arizona is already performing like a seasoned veteran.

People are logging onto sportsbook apps and placing bets on their favorite teams at a record-breaking pace. And there are no signs that it is going to slow down anytime soon.

Arizona becoming a legit top-5 sports betting market

Legal sports wagering went live in Arizona on Sept. 9, the same day as the start of the NFL season. GeoComply, a company that provides geolocation services to sportsbooks, announced that some 6.1 million bets or log-ins for sports betting in Arizona occurred during that first weekend. That put the state fourth among jurisdictions with legal sports betting across the nation.

Since then, bettors in Arizona have kept up the pace. According to GeoComply, Arizona was the fourth-most active sports betting market through the first four weeks of the NFL season. During that time, sportsbooks in the state saw 36.9 million transactions, accounting for 11.2% of the total made in the U.S.

Lindsay Slader, managing director of gaming at GeoComply, said they are excited to see the growth of sports betting carry over through the NFL season.

“The data also confirms the first week in Arizona was not just a one-off, but that the state has solidified its place as the fourth largest sports betting market in the US. With more states poised to come online in the coming weeks and months, we expect growth will continue to accelerate through 2021 and 2022.”

The NFL season is typically the most active time in the sports betting industry. This year, GeoComply saw 330 million geolocation transactions in 18 states and Washington, DC, from the start of the NFL season through Oct. 3. That’s a 122% increase in transactions from the same period in 2020.

Barely over a month into legal sports wagering, Arizona is ahead of Illinois and is only trailing New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan. There are still more operators getting ready to launch Arizona, so continued growth is to be expected.

DraftKings: Arizona sports betting exceeding expectations

One of the most popular Arizona mobile betting apps has become DraftKings Sportsbook AZ. Many have been familiar with DraftKings because of the popularity of daily fantasy sports that had been live in other states, as well as the other jurisdictions in which the brand offers legal sports betting.

Johnny Avello, director of race & sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told PlayAZ that so far, Arizona has been doing fantastic for the company. In fact, the Grand Canyon State has come out of the gates running. He added the state’s proximity to Las Vegas has played a role in Arizona having a good base of sports betting knowledge already in place.

“Expectations have been surpassed,” Avello said. “People in Arizona like to come to Las Vegas for the biggest events, but they don’t need to do that now.”

Ahead of launch day, DraftKings was already looking for big things out of Arizona and was ready to make an early mark. A few days after lawmakers advanced the bill to legalize sports betting in Arizona, and before Gov. Doug Ducey even signed the legislation, DraftKings and TPC Scottsdale made their partnership official. DraftKings became the first sports betting operator to secure access in the state.

Avello said DraftKings’ focus in Arizona is on helping the state’s sports betting market continue to grow.

“Coming up with new types of bets and new types of things to bet on. In-game wagering will grow in Arizona. A retail presence at TPC still in progress some of those plans are still being finalized. We are looking forward to being a part of the Waste Management Open.”

Photo by AP / Matt York
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C.J. Pierre

CJ Pierre is a multimedia journalist currently residing in the Phoenix-Metro Area in Arizona. He has been covering news and sports for over a decade for both online and TV broadcasts. He was born and raised in Minneapolis and an alum of Minnesota State University: Moorhead. CJ has experience as a reporter and videographer and has covered high school, college and professional sports throughout his career. Most notably following Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Vikings and North Dakota State University football.

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