Arizona sets new national records for gambling in first months of sports betting

By Ryan Randazzo | Arizona Republic

(Disclosure: Rose Law Group represents PGA Tour.)

Arizona sportsbooks took in $777 million in bets, winning nearly $70 million from gamblers in their first two months of operation, which set new monthly records for legal U.S. sports betting, according to state data released over the holiday weekend.

The sportsbooks used a favorable accounting practice included in the new law that let them write off the free bets they’ve offered to Arizona gamblers, which meant that despite their take, they only paid about $1 million in operating fees to the state for the first two months of business.

Arizona last year approved legal online sportsbooks and swiftly moved to license professional sports teams and Native American tribes to operate in-person and mobile betting sites.

Big national operators like DraftKings Inc., FanDuel Group and BetMGM took advantage of the opportunity to let customers create mobile accounts and start betting Sept. 9. In-person sportsbooks have opened, too.

The Department of Gaming anticipated releasing initial figures on the amounts wagered and tax collections on Nov. 29, but the release was delayed.

States across the country have legalized sports betting after a favorable 2018 Supreme Court ruling, and Arizona’s September wagers surpassed all other states in their initial month of legal betting. October likewise broke the record for any state’s second month.

Thirty states plus Washington, D.C. have live legal sports betting and it’s coming to three others, according to the American Gaming Association.

Arizona sportsbooks pay 8% of their win-in fees to the state from the brick-and-mortar venues and 10% of win from mobile betting, in addition to a federal excise tax of 0.25% of total bets.

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