After a record-setting December, the January figures for sports betting in Arizona didn't disappoint.
The Arizona Gaming Commission recently released sports-betting numbers for January, during which retail and online sportsbooks in the Grand Canyon State took over half a billion dollars ($563,694,591) in wagers for the first time, smashing Arizona's previous monthly handle high of $499.2 million.
Arizona’s 12 active mobile sportsbooks and two retail locations combined for just over $40.5 million in gross gaming revenue for the month as well.
Operators in the state once again doled out a generous amount of free bets and credits, with the monthly total for January close to $21 million. Sportsbooks have now shelled out almost $118 million in promotional offers since the inception of legal sports betting in the state last September.
The bonusing left sportsbooks with an adjusted revenue of around $19.6 million, which resulted in $1.9 million in tax receipts for the state as mobile operators are subject to a 10% tax rate and retail operators face an 8% levy on their revenue.
"With over half a billion dollars wagered in January, it is clear that Arizona has become a top-ten event wagering market nationally," said Ted Vogt, director of the Arizona Department of Gaming, in a press release. "A big thank you to Arizona Department of Gaming Staff and event wagering and fantasy sports stakeholders, whose work has contributed to the strong start in the state."
Arizona in rare air
After the launch of sports betting back on September 9, Arizona operators registered more than $1.7 billion in wagering handle and revenue of around $60 million as of the end of 2021. This has resulted in approximately $6.1 million in taxes paid to the state over that time.
January's take also shows there are no signs of a slowdown in Arizona, which is now the 12th state to reach $2 billion in total handle and the fastest one to do it, as it needed just five months to reach the milestone.
There's a range of opinions on how much of a windfall legalized sports betting could bring to the state's coffers. The state legislature's budget analysts predicted somewhere in the $15 million range per year, while industry advocates suggested it could blow that out of the water. Republican Rep. Jeff Weninger, who sponsored the sports-betting legalization legislation, had lofty expectations upwards of $100 million.
Four big dogs continue to bite
The operating giants brought in over $520 million of the total handle, accounting for around 92% of total wagers. Caesars and FanDuel also operate the state’s two retail locations.
Free bets, promotions luring bettors in
BetMGM led the way in free bets, spending over $8.6 million on its promotional efforts during the month and bringing its total promo spend to close to $35 million since launch.
FanDuel spent just under $4 million in promos in January but has spent nearly $35 million total, most of which came back in September with the initial launch.
The generous free credits won't last forever, though.
While promos are designed to spark interest with attractive welcome bonuses and free bets, the credits can only amount to 20% of operators' gross receipts during the first two years of sports betting in Arizona. They will then have to drop to 15% and then to 10% by the sixth year.