Arizona Moves Past $4 Billion in All-Time Sports Wagering Handle

by Chris Altruda

Arizona continued its impressive first full year of legalized sports wagering, becoming the 11th state to surpass $4 billion in overall bets after the state’s Department of Gaming reported nearly $513 million in handle for the month of April.

The Copper State reached the milestone in just eight months and has cleared $500 million handle in three of the first four months of 2022 after coming up just shy in December. Arizona ranked sixth nationally in handle for the month of April behind New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. It lagged less than $77 million behind its geographical neighbor Nevada.

Despite releasing just four revenue reports for the year, Arizona currently ranks seventh nationally in handle with more than $2.2 billion worth of wagers.

April’s handle was 25.8% lower than March’s record volume of $691 million, an expected downturn that comes with the lighter sports schedule. Gross operator revenue also tumbled sharply, falling 21.4% to $29.2 million. The sportsbooks’ 5.7% win rate was more than one-third of a percentage point higher than in March.

Though promotional credits and deductions totaled more than $12.7 million, it was the lowest in the eight months of operation and 31.3% lower than the $18.6 million awarded by operators in March. That meant the state could levy taxes on the $16.5 million in positive adjusted revenue that came from seven of the 18 mobile operators and two of three retail sportsbooks. The state collected more than $1.6 million in taxes for April, raising the total for the year to more than $6.1 million.

Arizona’s report also closed the national book on commercial sports wagering in the U.S. for April, with the accumulated handle about $11 million shy of $7.5 billion. That is a 19.1% month-over-month decline from the nearly $9.3 billion wagered in March, but more than double the $3.7 billion wagered in April 2021 when 20 states and jurisdictions offered legal commercial wagering compared to the current 26.

April was a better month for the house than March in terms of win rate nationwide. Sportsbooks topped the industry standard of 7% for the first time in 2022, but just barely, at 7.05% compared to 6.5% for March.

Operators claimed $528.1 million in gross revenue nationally and more than $452 million in adjusted revenue, with the latter resulting in state tax receipts totaling more than $110.5 million. Nearly half of that total ($53.1 million) came from New York, as the mobile leviathan continues to render year-over-year comparisons largely moot in its first year of digital play.

Just shy of $40 billion has been reported in wagers nationwide thus far in 2022, more than two-thirds the $57.7 billion wagered all of last year.

FanDuel and DraftKings have divergent months

In Arizona, there was little daylight in handle between eternal mobile rivals FanDuel and DraftKings, which combined to accept more than $300 million in wagers. FanDuel became the second operator after DraftKings to clear $1 billion in mobile handle in the Grand Canyon State after registering $149.8 million in bets.

FanDuel, in fact, had the most robust revenue month of any operator in Arizona since launch, claiming close to $16.2 million in gross revenue while posting a 10.8% hold. Its $12.3 million in adjusted revenue represented a high-water mark in the state and accounted for close to 75% of the state’s overall tax receipts.

In stark contrast, DraftKings had a hold of just under 1% for April and finished with barely more than $1.5 million in gross revenue — all of which was allowed to be deducted via promotional credits. It was the first time DraftKings did not have any adjusted positive revenue since its first month of operation in September.

BetMGM squeaked out a nine-figure handle at $100.6 million and found a sweet spot of sorts, with more than $7.7 million in gross revenue. Its promotional outlay continues to be heavy — BetMGM totaled nearly $5.1 million in such credits for April, and nearly 76% of its $37.4 million in gross revenue for 2022 has gone untaxed.

Caesars had a dramatic fall-off in month-over-month handle, plummeting 34.6% to $62.3 million. Its gross revenue of nearly $1.7 million represented an all-time monthly low since launch, as did its 2.7% hold.

Barstool Sportsbook rounded out the five operators with eight-figure handles, taking $16.8 million in bets to clear benchmarks of $75 million for the year and $150 million overall. It also did not fare well in April against bettors, who limited the book to a 3.2% win rate and less than $550,000 in gross revenue.

BetRivers was able to buck the trend of dips in handle, posting a monthly best of more than $6.2 million. It also posted a positive net AGR for April, with nearly $32,000 of the $292,627 eligible to be taxed at 10%.

Smaller operators trying to find their stride

SuperBook was another operator to report an increase in handle, clicking higher to nearly $2 million compared to $1.2 million in March. The increase in gross revenue was not equivalent, as its 7.4% win rate was about three full percentage points lower, resulting in a revenue bump of $8,000 to nearly $143,000.

Hard Rock Sportsbook had a nearly three-fold uptick in handle to close to $900,000, but a 1.2% hold meant its month-over-month gross revenue increase was less than $800. Some were even less fortunate, as Desert Diamond reported the biggest monthly gross revenue loss among operators at more than $42,000. Bally Bet, meanwhile, was nearly $11,000 in the red for April.

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