According to the Arizona Department of Gaming, March witnessed the second-strongest month for legalized sports betting in the state, with more than $644.7 million wagered. Although this figure represents a 6.7% decline compared to the same month the previous year, it also reflects a 5.8% increase from the previous month.
Notably, the revenue generated from sports bets in March saw a significant surge, up 98.8% from March 2022 and an impressive 129.6% from February. Meanwhile, tax revenue collected from the betting activity contributed over $3.7 million to the state’s funds, reflecting a substantial 130% growth from February. Since the legalization of sports betting in September 2021, the state has accumulated privilege fees amounting to over $43 million.
The Director of the Arizona Department of Gaming, Jackie Johnson, highlighted the significance of this achievement. As per Phoenix Business Journal, Johnson stated: “March of 2023 is the fifth time the state eclipsed $600 million in wagers and is the second-highest month since the inception of sports betting in Arizona.”
Out of the total wagered amount in March, over $591 million was paid out to bettors, while sportsbooks retained $53.4 million. This marks a notable increase from the previous month’s figure of around $34 million. But while the results are impressive, March 2022 remains the highest month for sports wagering in Arizona, with a total handle of $690 million.
The surge in betting activity during that period can be attributed to the excitement surrounding postseason tournaments in college basketball, such as conference tournaments and NCAA March Madness. This also likely explains the year-over-year decline observed in March 2023.
Dru James, a gaming analyst at BetArizona.com, acknowledged that March was a robust month for sports betting in Arizona. However, he highlighted the need to monitor the year-over-year drop to determine if it will become a recurring trend.
“This kind of year-over-year fluctuation is atypical of a maturing market, and many will have their eyes on this number to discern if it will become a persistent pattern,” he said, as reported by Phoenix Business Journal. James also noted markets similar to Arizona have shown both month-over-month and year-over-year wagering growth through April.
The majority of sports betting activity in Arizona during March was conducted through mobile apps. FanDuel emerged as the platform with the highest betting action, with over $257 million wagered, almost all of which was through its mobile app. DraftKings followed with $168.8 million wagered, and BetMGM with $88.8 million wagered.
The privilege fees paid to the Arizona state government by sportsbooks are calculated based on their gross earnings, with deductions allowed for free bets and other incentives offered. Out of the 17 mobile sportsbooks operating in the state, all but five generated sufficient revenue to pay privilege fees. This represents significant growth compared to the previous year when only nine sportsbooks paid fees to the state.