Arizona is already home to a booming sports betting market. But thanks to a culmination of high-profile sporting events, the industry just might lead the country.
In December of this year, Arizona holds the Fiesta Bowl — a College Football Playoff semifinal game. Then in February, the state will host both Super Bowl LVII and the Waste Management Phoenix Open. During that three-month span, Arizona’s professional teams like the Cardinals and Suns will still compete as well.
But industry experts believe those three major sporting events will be key in driving outside bettors into Arizona, helping to jolt the Arizona sports betting market to new heights. VP of FanDuel communications Chris Jones told the Tucson Sentinel.
“I think it’s a really exciting sports year ahead. I think, from a sporting perspective, there’s a lot that will be going on inside the state. We need to stay humble and stay focused on building the business, ensuring we are growing at a pace and speed that makes sense and is sustainable.”
Arizona gamblers wagered more than $1.5 billion on sports betting from December-February of Fiscal Year 2022. That’s the same time frame as Fiscal Year 2023’s three major sporting events.
Sports bettors wagered $499 million in December of 2021. In January of this calendar year, that number jumped by nearly $80 to a little more than $583 million. The following month, the number still remained high at $491.6 million.
Arizona’s sports betting industry thought to grow to $7 billion
Since Arizona legalized sports betting in 2021, making it the 23rd state to do so, there’s been no shortage of wagers.
Gamblers in Arizona wagered more than $5 billion in the first year, according to the Arizona Department of Gaming. Sports bettors have a plethora of options to place bets on the go.
The state boasts 25 sportsbooks with BetMGM and Betfred as the most recent launches. The Premium Consulting Group Inc. CEO Cory Lindover told the Phoenix News Times:
“I can attest to Arizona being a big sports betting state. Arizona is already leading the pack among a lot of states, and it’s positioned to make a really good run in the future.”
Expect that $5 billion mark to grow. Not just slightly, but to boom.
College of the Holy Cross professor of sports economics Victor Matheson told the Phoenix News Times he believes Arizona’s sports betting industry will grow to $7 billion next year.
Arizona’s ability to embrace the industry makes growth projections attainable
$7 billion is a massive number to imagine for Arizona. It’s a massive sports betting figure for any state. But it’s also a testament to the state’s willingness to embrace the industry and continue to put the future at the forefront.
FanDuel, one of the country’s leading online sportsbooks, owns a 7,400-square-foot brick-and-mortar retail sportsbook in Phoenix. It’s at the Footprint Center, where the Phoenix Suns and Mercury call home.
The FanDuel Retail Sportsbook at Footprint Center generated a little more than $14.4 million in wagers between September and December of 2021 Alone, according to the ADG.
FanDuel isn’t the only sportsbook with connections to a professional Arizona sports team. BetMGM opened a sportsbook just outside of State Farm Stadium, where the Arizona Cardinals play.
And DraftKings is projected to open a site at TPC Scottsdale in 2023.
The Arizona Coyotes are another one of Arizona’s professional sports teams to boast a gambling connection, too. They’re sponsored by the Gila River Casino.
Arizona’s last Super Bowl was the state’s ‘largest economic impact’
2023 marks the third Super Bowl played in Arizona.
The first one may stick out in NFL fans’ minds. In 2008, the New York Giants upset the undefeated New England Patriots. The game featured David Tyree’s miraculous catch against his helmet.
The next Super Bowl came in 2015. The Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks thanks to a goal-line interception with little time remaining.
But 2015’s Super Bowl was memorable for off-field reasons, too. According to research by Arizona State’s W.P. Carey School of Business, the game generated a $700 million economic impact in the Valley, making it the most profitable Super Bowl game in NFL history.
“This is the largest economic impact of any event ever held in the state of Arizona,” a release stated.
Given how sports betting was more than five years from legalization in Arizona, it’s not out of the question to think 2023’s big game tops that 2015 mark.