Arizona gamblers lose $51 million on sports bets in November as total betting surpasses $1 billion

By Ryan Randazzo | Arizona Republic

(Disclosure: Rose Law Group represents the PGA.)

Arizona gamblers lost about $51 million betting on sports in November, a banner month for the state’s new legal sportsbooks, according to state data released Tuesday.

The nine mobile sports betting sites plus two in-person sportsbooks operating in downtown Phoenix took about $467 million in total wagers for November, the third month legal gambling was allowed following a new law last year.

Already, gamblers have wagered more than $1.2 billion on sports after three months of legal betting.

“Arizona has exceeded expectations and is already a top 10 market nationally,” Department of Gaming Director Ted Vogt said. “Revenue from these new games is strong and will only get stronger as the market develops.”

November’s total wagers were down slightly from October’s $486 million, but that month had five weekends and November only had four.

Sportsbooks pay 8% of adjusted revenue from in-person gambling and 10% of mobile revenue in fees to the state. They also pay 0.25% of total wagers in a federal excise tax.

But they also are allowed to deduct up to 20% of their revenue for promotions such as “free bets” in the first two years they are open. That amount totaled $18 million in November, and it’s the reason Arizonans are seeing so many sportsbook ads on television and on billboards.

The state collected about $3.2 million in fees for the month. That number would have been $1.8 million higher if not for the provision allowing sportsbooks to deduct free bets and promotions from their liability.

Still, November’s fees to the state were substantially higher than September and October, which combined brought in only about $1 million to the state because of the sportsbooks deducting promotions.

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