March Madness Helps AZ Sportsbooks Reel In Over $690 Million For Record-Breaking March

Written By C.J. Pierre on June 6, 2022 - Last Updated on January 30, 2023

Wagering at Arizona sportsbooks surged to more than $690 million in March. The surge was aided by the first four rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

It was the state’s best month for sports betting. It closed the book on the first quarter, which generated a whopping $1.74 billion in wagers.

The numbers show that Arizona is keeping up with the other states during a prime month for sports betting.

New benchmark set for AZ Sports Betting

March was a good month for Arizona sports betting. Customers in the state placed $690.979 million in wagers. That’s around a 40% increase in handle compared to the February handle, according to the Arizona Department of Gaming.

March saw the highest amount of wagers since sports betting became legal in Arizona in September 2021. The previous state handle record was $563.7 million, set in January.

Sportsbooks won $18.7 million in gross sports betting revenue from March’s bets. Meanwhile, the state of Arizona gained approximately $1.7 million in sports betting taxes.

March Madness was a crucial cog in the increase. Arizona Wildcats Men’s and Women’s basketball teams both had strong performances in their respective NCAA Tournaments.

Ted Vogt, the director of the ADG, says the numbers from March indicate good things to come for sports betting in the state.

“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,” said Vogt. “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.”

The second quarter will likely be significantly slower for sportsbooks. The NFL, college football, and March Madness give way to the NBA playoffs, baseball and events like major championship golf, which can be particularly lucrative for sportsbooks.

What March’s numbers could mean for the future of Arizona Sports Betting

Arizona remains a hot sports betting market. March’s numbers are a significant sign that Arizonans have enjoyed having a little skin in the game.

The first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament are an essential weekend for the industry under any circumstances. AZ sportsbooks got an additional boost from Arizona’s run to the Sweet 16.

To put March into context, it was a busier month than every month with football except January. Football generated consistently strong volume all season, but the state’s bettors are showing engagement that stretches far beyond the gridiron.

The question is, are these numbers sustainable? I believe the long-term answer is yes.

However, we will see a dip in the short term. April, May and June are historically slower for sports betting. There is no football, and there is usually very little steam behind betting on MLB during the early part of the season.

Meaning that the NBA playoffs usually carry the sports betting market. In Arizona, fans were backing the Phoenix Suns in a big way. However, the team’s early playoff exit might prove to have slowed down NBA betting in the Grand Canyon State.

The good news is we have continued to see more event wagering options in the state. All 18 online sportsbooks that have received a license in Arizona are operational. Also, tribal casinos are continuing to install retail sports betting options for their customers.

The state’s professional sports teams are also ramping up their in-person betting options. Notably, the BetMGM retail sportsbook, which will be located right outside the Arizona Cardinals’ State Farm Stadium, is expected to open in time for the start of the 2022 NFL season.

With more betting options still to come, it makes sense to believe Arizona will remain a top 10 sports betting market in the future.

How Arizona stacks up against other sports betting markets across the nation

Arizona’s $690.9 million handle in March ranks sixth nationally.

  1. New York – $1.645 billion
  2. New Jersey – $1.121 billion
  3. Illinois – $971.3 million
  4. Nevada – $863.283 million
  5. Pennsylvania – $714.976 million
  6. Arizona – $690.9 million

That puts Arizona squarely in the mix as a top 10 market during one of the busiest times of the year in sports betting. Arizona ranked ahead of Colorado ($505.6 million), Michigan ($480 million), Indiana ($476.8 million) and Virginia ($469.5 million).

Through the first seven months of sports betting, Arizona’s sportsbooks have produced:

  • $3.49 billion in online and retail wagers
  • $247.3 million in gross revenue
  • $10.3 million in privilege fees for the state
Photo by AP / Denis Poroy
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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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