Sportsbook operators in Arizona put the final touches on a historic month in terms of the pummeling of bettors across the United States, as the state’s Department of Gaming reported Wednesday a May hold just shy of 11% that resulted in $49.5 million in gross revenue.
To say the collective American house ran roughshod over customers in May is an understatement. Twenty-six of the 29 states that conducted commercial sports betting posted double-digit win rates in May, with only Nevada (5.7%) and South Dakota (4.3%) failing to reach the industry standard of 7%. While Arizona’s hold for May ranked second in 21 months of wagering in the Grand Canyon State, it ranked 21st nationally for the month.
The overall national hold of 11.26% for May ranks third in 60 months of wagering in the post-PASPA era, trailing only the 11.71% registered in both September 2018 and September 2022 (figures that are separated by less than three one-thousandths of a percentage point). Handle for May totaled more than $8.1 billion nationwide — nearly 10 times the $817.3 million wagered in September 2018 and topping the $7.9 billion bet in September 2022.
In another sign of just how much sports wagering has expanded in the U.S., total operator gross revenue for May was $916.6 million — nearly $100 million more than the September 2018 handle, when only five states were live.
Arizona’s figures add to an unprecedented 12-month span of success for operators, who have fashioned a nationwide hold of nearly 9.4% from $101.8 billion wagered from July 1, 2022, through June 30 (with only June revenue reports from Arizona and Illinois yet to be released).
FINAL May #SportsBetting handle numbers by state:
1 New York $1.36B
2 Illinois $821.72M
3 New Jersey $778.85M
4 Nevada $527.44M
5 Pennsylvania $495.59M
6 Massachusetts $454.97M
7 ARIZONA $451.72M <-NEW
8 Ohio $447.48M
9 Virginia $403.72M
10 Colorado $385.24M#GamblingTwitter
— Chris Altruda (@AlTruda73) August 2, 2023
Another blistering May for desert sportsbooks
The near-11% hold for May in Arizona trails only the near-12% win rate operators enjoyed 12 months prior. That led to year-over-year revenue numbers being down vs. May 2022, with gross revenue 10.3% lower and adjusted gross revenue (AGR) down 18.2%. Handle was off only 2.1% compared to May 2022, with $451.7 million worth of wagers accepted.
Still, year-to-date numbers in Arizona across the board are higher compared to the first five months of last year. Gross revenue is up nearly 26% to $235 million, while AGR has surged 46% to $150.5 million. Promotional spend totaled $14.7 million in May, up 7.9% from April, but the $79.5 million outlay in credits among all operators in the calendar year is down 4.8% versus the same period in 2022.
The increased AGR has resulted in nearly $15 million worth of tax receipts in 2023, with state coffers getting close to $3.4 million for May. The state has collected $4.7 million more in tax revenue from sports wagering than it did in the first five months of 2022. Arizona is closing in on $50 million in total receipts since launching in September 2021.
Bettors in the state have made more than $2.8 billion worth of wagers this year, an increase of 4.1% compared to 2022. Arizona ranks seventh nationally in handle this year, a position it will bolster when it adds June’s wagering totals.
FanDuel tops $20 million in revenue again
FanDuel paced all mobile operators in gross revenue in Arizona, landing at $21.2 million thanks to a hold of nearly 13.1%. It was the third consecutive month and fourth time this year the mobile juggernaut cleared $21 million and the eighth time it topped $20 million overall in Arizona — remaining the only mobile operator to clear the benchmark. FanDuel also surpassed $1 billion in handle and $100 million in gross revenue in the state for the year, though its overall win rate for 2023 is 9.7%, nearly one-third of a percentage point lower than 2022.
Rival DraftKings set a company record in gross revenue in the state for the second time in three months with more than $15.2 million, bettering the previous standard from March by about $150,000. Its 11.7% hold for May was its third in double digits in Arizona and trails only the 12.8% fashioned in the first month of operations.
BetMGM had a year-best 11% win rate as it claimed $7.4 million in gross revenue from $66.8 million in accepted bets. It was the third straight month with a double-digit hold for BetMGM, which was also a clear-cut third in promotional spend at $3.3 million.
FanDuel ($5 million), DraftKings ($4.8 million), BetMGM, and Caesars Sportsbook ($911,000) accounted for more than 95% of the promotional outlay among operators in May, with all other mobile books combining to offer $667,000 in credits.
Caesars reported $3.6 million in gross revenue with an 8% hold on $45.5 million handle, good for fourth in both categories. Barstool Sportsbook again held off local operator Desert Diamond for the No. 5 handle spot, clearing $12 million in accepted wagers to Desert Diamond’s $10.2 million. The Glendale-based book, however, absorbed its second loss in the last three months, as bettors came out $177,000 ahead.
The other mobile book specific to Arizona, Sahara Bets, had a robust 27% hold on $308,000 handle, setting an all-time monthly best since launch with $83,000 in gross revenue. It had claimed just over $93,000 in winnings all of 2022.
BetRivers paid state taxes on adjusted gross revenue for the first time in 2023, remitting $14,000 after its AGR totaled $140,000. BetRivers had an all-time high of $389,000 in gross revenue in May.
BetMGM takes its first loss on the retail side
Though brick-and-mortar operators had a strong 13.8% hold on $3.9 million handle overall, it would have been higher had BetMGM not finished in the red. The public came out nearly $28,000 ahead on $611,000 wagered for its first monthly win since BetMGM launched in-person betting last September.
Caesars, which took monthly losses in January and April this year, set an all-time high for monthly retail revenue in Arizona with $191,000 thanks to a 21.7% hold. FanDuel had its best month of the year with $377,000 from $2.4 million handle, a 15.6% win rate.