Grand Canyon State sets U.S. record for money wagered in the first month of legal sports betting, according to PlayAZ analysts
(LAS VEGAS) — Arizona’s sportsbooks enjoyed the busiest debut month in the history of U.S. legal sports betting with nearly $300 million in wagers in September, more in than any other state in its first month in U.S. history, according to analysts from PlayAZ.com, which tracks the fledgling Arizona gaming market.
“Football is the straw that stirs the sports betting drink, so launching ahead of the NFL’s first game and with college football going full tilt was critical,” said Eric Ramsey, an analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayAZ.com. “Most of the country’s best-known sportsbook brands jumped in early, too. And with nearly a full month to operate, it made for a remarkable debut.”
Arizona’s online and retail sportsbooks accepted $291.2 million in wagers in September, according to official data released Friday night by the Arizona Department of Gaming. That buried the former record of $131.4 million in a market’s first calendar month, set by Tennessee in November 2020.
In all, the state’s sportsbooks generated $32.3 million in gross gaming revenue from Sept. 9-30, which is also the most in history for a state in its first month of legal sports betting. That led to $31.6 million in net revenue. After $31.2 million in promotional credits, the state taxed $392,418 in gross event wagering receipts, producing $31,293 in privilege fees for the state.
To put Arizona’s debut in context, New Jersey, the nation’s largest sports betting market, did not surpass $290 million in a month until it produced $385.3 million in its ninth month.
“Arizona has enormous potential as a market, but it is encouraging for the industry to see such a strong debut,” said C.J. Pierre, lead analyst for PlayAZ.com. “Setting a record in the first month would qualify as getting the market off on the right foot. The next question is how quickly the state can ramp up and compete with more established markets. It appears that won’t take long.”
Online sports betting accounted for $288.1 million of the state’s handle, with retail sportsbooks generating the remaining $2.6 million in wagers. Seven sportsbooks debuted in the first month, including FanDuel and DraftKings — the two largest operators in the U.S. — as well as familiar brands Barstool, BetMGM, Caesars, TwinSpires, Unibet, and WynnBet.
DraftKings topped the market with $97.7 million in wagering, which produced $12.7 million in gross revenue. FanDuel was second with $57.7 million in online wagers and $1.9 million in retail bets, yielding $594,897 in gross revenue.
The state’s operators also got a boost from the hot start by the Arizona Cardinals, which opened the season at 4-0, spiking bettors’ interest.
“Local sports matter and a strong NFL team matters more than most, so the Cardinals’ historic start was a godsend for sportsbooks,” Ramsey said. “Arizona’s operators are aiming to engage new bettors and quickly grow their customer base. An enthusiastic fan base makes that job easier.”
For more information and analysis on regulated sports betting in Arizona, visit PlayAZ.com/news.
Contact: Zack Hall, Catena Media, [email protected]