Gambling in Arizona: Grand Canyon State Reports Billions Being Bet on Sports

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DeAndre Hopkins #10 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates with fans after scoring a touchdown against the Los Angeles Chargers at State Farm Stadium. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP.

Legal sports betting in Arizona went live in September of 2021 and over $6.5 billion has been wagered on sports and daily fantasy sports in the first 12 months.

Arizona Raking Big Bucks

The numbers are in for Arizona’s first year accepting sports bets and the data is compelling. Over $6.5 billion in bets was wagered from September 2021 to October 2022 which reaped $27 million for the state’s tax coffers.

The gaming legislation that brought sports betting to Arizona also expanded tribal gaming to include additional table games which have produced greater revenue for the tribal casinos as well as the state’s piece of the action.

“It tends to get lost that sports betting was only a piece of the larger gambling expansion here in Arizona,” said Max Hartgraves, a spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Gaming. “Back in April, sports betting was legalized as well as a whole new slate of casino games at Arizona tribal casinos. Games like craps, roulette, baccarat.”

Hartgraves also expounded on the additional revenue the state makes from the sports betting providers. “There’s two types of fees that the state collects. One is licensing fees from operators and other industry participants, for example, an event wagering company had to pay a $750,000 initiation fee and then a yearly fee of $150,000. On the other side are the privilege fees, which consist of a percentage of revenue produced by an event wagering operator.”

What Are They Doing With the Revenue?

Some of the gaming revenue generated is earmarked for problem gambling programs in and throughout Arizona.

Elise Mikkelsen, Director of the Arizona Department of Gaming and its Problem Gaming Division stated, “The licensees that have come on board that are allowing access to sports wagering in Arizona– they have problem gambling requirements and part of their requirements is listing our 1-800 NEXT-STEP phone number on all of their advertising as well as including it on their commercial advertising and television advertising as well.”

Super Bowl Back in the Desert

The Super Bowl is only weeks away and Glendale, Arizona will be ground zero for the big game. This will be the third time Glendale has been chosen to host and the first since 2015 when the Patriots defeated the Seahawks, 28-24, in one of the most dramatic games in Super Bowl history.

Back then it was known as the University of Phoenix Stadium but State Farm bought the naming rights which is why it is now the eponymous State Farm Stadium. But this time around the venue will feature something that was not only missing when the Patriots and Seahawks battled eight years ago but was illegal in the Grand Canyon State – sports betting.

That’s right, if you want to get down before or during the big game then the BetMGM Sportsbook is where you need to go. Boasting 17,000 square feet, the BetMGM Sportsbook is located just steps from the Great Lawn which leads to the stadium. It was the very first book to align with an NFL stadium.

“The BetMGM Sportsbook at State Farm Stadium is one of the most revolutionary additions an NFL stadium has seen in decades and unlike anything, fans have encountered on gamedays,” said BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt. “BetMGM shares the Arizona Cardinals’ vision in pursuing new ways to break barriers and entertain fans.”