So, how much money was being thrown around now that Arizonans could legally place a wager on a game? It turns out, a lot.
BetArizona.com’s Christopher Boan says on Jan. 3 that Arizona broke records in the last couple of months. "Broke Nevada’s record for the biggest first month in legalized sports betting," he said.
More than $291 million worth of bets were placed in September – marking the highest debut for legal sports betting ever.
"You’re gonna keep seeing the ads. I don’t know when they’ll start to dial back again, but if the numbers keep going up, get used to them," Boan said.
In October, $486 million worth of bets were made. A chunk of that came from free bets used to entice players to buy in.
The free bets aren’t taxed the same way real money is. The state took about $1.3 million from the September and October totals, and almost $14 million in licensing fees.
State Rep. Jeff Weninger helped write the bill, and predicts that numbers will go up.
"You’re gonna have fluctuations throughout the year depending on the sports going on. Then you’re gonna have the Super Bowl, where one day makes up for how many other days. I don’t think it hurts that we have a great Suns team and great Cardinals team. That plays into it," Weninger said.
To put the numbers into perspective, Las Vegas handled about $1.1 billion in bets in October. Arizona almost did half of that.
Arizona becomes a top 10 market for sports betting
Sports wagering in Arizona kicked off with the start of the NFL season. By the end of November, Arizona spent $1.2 billion on sports betting, says the Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG).
"Arizona has exceeded expectations and is already a top ten market nationally," said Ted Vogt, Director with ADG. "Revenue from these new games is strong and will only get stronger as the market develops."
Mike Erickson is in Phoenix, visiting from Minnesota, and says, "It makes it more interesting to watch when you got some money on the line." John Hackett, also from Minnesota, says, "All the money I win goes back into betting again."
Glen Crimson who lives in Phoenix says he heads to the FanDuel Sportsbook at least three times a week. That's where fans were piling into the Footprint Center’s FanDuel Sportsbook lounge in downtown Phoenix Jan. 30 to cheer on their favorite teams and try to win some money.
The lounges general manager, Noah Kirk, says they’ve been really busy during the NFL Conference Championship games, as well as during Phoenix Suns games.
Now, they’re preparing for even bigger crowds come Superbowl Sunday – it'll be the first-ever time you can bet on the Super Bowl in Arizona. "It’s a really unique experience that people want to be a part of," Kirk said.
He adds, "It’s something that the state of Arizona has wanted for a long time. It’s very popular across the entire United States. It’s a great way for states to earn extra tax dollars. We provide a safe, fun atmosphere."
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, you can call a 24-hour confidential helpline at 1-800-NEXT-STEP. You can also visit this link.
- What you need to know as sports betting begins in Arizona
- What Arizona's sports betting could look like once it's signed into law