First Year Of Arizona Sports Betting Soars Over $5 Billion

Written By Adam Hensley on October 31, 2022
Sports betting in Arizona soared to over $5B in first year

In just one year of legal sports betting in Arizona, recorded a handle of more than $5 billion on sporting events.

The Arizona Department of Gaming released its numbers for Fiscal Year 2022 in October. The results show a booming industry – not just in event gambling.

“I am proud of ADG staff for their commitment to world-class gaming regulation,” ADG Director Ted Vogt said in a statement. “In FY2022, ADG helped implement one of the largest gambling expansions in Arizona history.”

Arizona sports betting industry a hit in year one

The state legalized event gambling and fantasy sports in April 2021. Since Arizona’s first legal sportsbook opened in Sept. 2021, residents gambled a total of $5,434,212,182.27. Vogt continued:

“ADG staff diligently worked with stakeholders throughout Arizona to efficiently and responsibly set up these new gaming industries. The results were phenomenal.”

Arizona has 25 retail sportsbooks for residents to choose from.

Looking at Arizona sports betting monthly trends

Arizona’s highest month in terms of total bets (retail and online) was March 2022. That month, Arizona bettors gambled $690,979,294.05. To the surprise of no one, that’s the same time as March Madness.

The next-highest month was Jan. 2022, with $563,694,591.18 – more than $127 million fewer than December 2021’s total. Arizona topped $500 million in bets one more time: April 2022 with $512,877,847.67.

After April, though, Arizona’s sports betting receipts dropped until August. That’s a natural trend for sports betting in general, as that timeframe marks football’s offseason. August posted $361,008,835.14 in total bets.

Experts believe the best is yet to come for Arizona sports betting. With the Super Bowl, a College Football Playoff game and the Waste Management Open all operating in Arizona during December-February, there’s growing optimism that the state could see an extreme financial contribution from the industry during that three-month span.

DraftKings commanded the highest bet total in FY22

DraftKings was the clear-cut favorite out of Arizona’s major sportsbooks, with users gambling more than $1.6 billion.

FanDuel was the second-most popular, generating $1.4 billion in bets from Arizona residents.

BetMGM tallied $1.05 billion in bets during that timeframe.

More boxing, MMA events in Arizona

In total, Arizona held 32 boxing or MMA fights in Fiscal Year 2022 – 23 more than it did in Fiscal Year 2021.

The state held one Arizona title right, six US/regional title fights and six world title fights. Eight events ended up being televised worldwide.

Arizona also totaled four new promoters in Fiscal Year 2022.

Arizona tribal casinos contribute over $123M in FY22

Tribes in Arizona received $123,645,398 in Fiscal Year 2022 contributions. According to the ADG:

  • 56% of that total went to the Instructional Improvement Fund
  • 28% went toward the Trauma & Emergency Services Fund
  • 8% went to the Wildlife Conservation Fund
  • 8% went to the Tourism Fund

The Arizona Tribal-State Gaming Compact oversees gaming in Arizona. That group is made up of 22 tribes. 16 of them operate Class III casinos, while the other six have slot machine rights.

Racing numbers are up in FY22 from FY21

Arizona’s tallied a pari-mutuel handle of $152,328,796 in Fiscal Year 2022. That marked a 7% jump from Fiscal Year 2021’s total of $142,384,590.

Of Fiscal Year 2022’s total, simulcast racing dominated compared to live racing. Simulcast racing generated $142,055,406 in handle during that span. Still, Arizona’s live race handle jumped from $5,866,522 to $9,497,821 this past fiscal year. Vogt commented:

“It was the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic that Arizona saw all three commercial horse tracks run live racing. Rillito Racetrack in Tucson, Turf Paradise in Phoenix, and Arizona Downs in Prescott Valley all ran successful meets this year, giving Arizona horsemen the ability to participate in year-round racing across the state.”

Arizona introduced its new self-exclusion process

The ADG created its self-exclusion program for problem gamblers in Fiscal Year 2022. It’s a way for individuals to voluntarily exclude themselves from placing bets or participating in fantasy sports contests in-person or online.

“Our Division of Problem Gambling (DPG) was hard at work implementing a new form of self exclusion in FY2022,” Vogt said in a statement. “Working with EWFS stakeholders, DPG set up a new self-exclusion process, allowing those who struggle with problem gambling to exclude themselves from EWFS state wide.”

The ADG’s Problem Gambling site offers self-exclusion durations of one year, five years and ten years.

Photo by AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn/PlayAZ
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Adam Hensley

Adam Hensley is a journalist from Des Moines, Iowa, who currently works for the USA Today Network. His byline has appeared in the Associated Press, Sports Illustrated and sites within the USA Today Network. Hensley graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019 and spent his college career working for the Daily Iowan’s sports department, both as an editor and reporter.

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