Welcome To The New Age: Sports Betting Already Changing The Landscape In Arizona

Written By C.J. Pierre on September 15, 2021

The first full weekend of legal sports betting in Arizona is in the books. And it is off to a hot start.

Sportsbooks officially started accepting wagers on Sept. 9, just in time for the kickoff to the NFL season. Between then and now, we saw the rest of Week 1 in the NFL, a full slate of college football games, a weekend of MLB action, the finals of the US Open tennis championships and much more.

Eager bettors in Arizona were ready to jump all over the action. And it was hard not to with ads for sportsbooks and sports betting apps dominating our TV screens. Not to mention ads flooding social media pages.

The question now is, will sports betting’s wildfire-like momentum in Arizona ever cool off?

Arizona sports betting becomes top-5 market in less than a week

Regulated wagering in the Grand Canyon State went live less than a week ago. And already, the industry has turned into a top-five sports betting market in the US.

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 between launch day on Thursday and Sunday afternoon.

That put the state fourth among jurisdictions with legal sports betting across the nation, one spot ahead of Illinois and only behind New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan, respectively.

Arizona accounted for 10% of all legal online betting transactions in the country, with customers creating 271,000 new accounts in the first four days.

A lot of these numbers could be the “new kid in school” buzz surrounding sports betting right now. But the trend nationwide shows that the numbers are only going to go up. Geocomply said the sports betting market in the US just experienced its busiest four-day stretch ever as the NFL season kicked off.

“The level of demand across new markets, such as Arizona, indicates that consumers have long waited for the option to legally place a sports bet,” said Lindsay Slader, managing director of gaming for GeoComply.

“Arizona is showing that there is pent up demand for sports betting in the western part of the US. The state has catapulted near the top as the 4th largest state for transactions, in just its first weekend. We haven’t seen anything quite like it.”

Sports wagering ads flood Arizona airwaves, social media

Comedian JB Smoove made a big impression with the people of Arizona during launch day in downtown Phoenix. The spokesperson for Caesars helped kick off the festivities during the grand opening of the temporary retail sportsbook outside Chase Field. But that wouldn’t be the last Arizonans would see of the sports betting emperor.

Commercials featuring JB Smoove touting the Caesars Sportsbook app were seen throughout the day during college football and NFL games over the weekend. And he wasn’t the only celebrity popping up on the TV urging people to place bets.

Take WynnBET Sportsbook, for example, which ran ads starring the team of NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal and actor Ben Affleck. Not to be outdone, BetMGM had commercial spots featuring Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx.

Also, during games, broadcast crews referenced sponsorships with different sportsbooks. DraftKings hit the screen several times during Monday Night Football, promoting the app’s free pools on NFL games.

On social media, AZ mobile betting apps were difficult to ignore. Start scrolling on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social networking site, and you will see ads from every Arizona sports betting operator. Most of the ads are pushing new customer promos on risk-free bets and odds boosts.

Arizona has clearly become a target in the sports betting world. We are less than a week in, and with the Arizona Cardinals home opener coming up, it feels like a big wave of wagers is on the horizon.

Photo by AP / Mark Zaleski
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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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