When evaluating sports betting handle in states, one of the most important numbers to look at is the year-on-year or month-on-month data. It allows a comparison which can tell analysts at a glance whether a state has seen an increase in betting or a decrease, which is fundamental to acknowledging whether the legalization of betting has been a success. So it is a good time to evaluate sports betting in Arizona, given that the state has recently celebrated its first full year of legal wagering. We now have the numbers for the month of September 2022, which we can compare to the first full month of betting in the state, September 2021.
The headline is that there has been a significant increase in betting across that year-on-year comparison. The handle in the state for this September amounted to just under $560 million, which was an increase of 84.7% compared to September last year. That’s no bad thing, especially when you consider that the first month of betting in any state can be inflated by the significant novelty factor of being able to bet for the first time. These numbers can be placed alongside a range of healthy data that has been posted by the state’s sportsbooks in 2022, indicating that sports betting in Arizona has been a real success.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that these numbers are being reported in December, and that the strongest part of the year for American sportsbooks is still to come. We’re approaching the business end of the NFL season, with nearly every match from here on having potential implications for the playoff picture. This will encourage more attention on games, and potentially more betting too – although there will be limited local impact given the low probability of the Arizona Cardinals playing a part in the end-of-season contests.
September 2022 was not the biggest month so far for betting in Arizona. That came in March of this year when $691 million was handled in the state. March is a big month nationwide for sports betting, as it is when the college basketball playoffs – the enduringly popular March Madness – take place, as well as outright betting picking up while the NBA and NHL draw towards their end-of-season playoffs. Overall, more than $6 billion has been handled in the first year of betting in the state, with $480 million in revenue and $24million collected in betting tax so far.
An additional bright spot in the numbers for Arizona comes when their numbers are placed next to states of comparable sizes. Michigan and Wyoming are both slightly larger in terms of population. The former achieved a first-year betting handle of just over $3.7 billion while Wyoming – which admittedly is without professional sports teams in any of the major leagues – saw a much smaller handle of $135 million in its debut year.