Coyotes Introduce SaharaBets To Arizona Sports Betting Market

Written By Pat Evans on January 5, 2022
Arizona sports betting

Since the Sept. 9 launch of Arizona sports betting, the Arizona Coyotes left fans in the dark about their sportsbook plans.

The team announced Wednesday its plans to launch SaharaBets for AZ sports betting Jan. 12. Unlike other professional sports teams in Arizona, the Coyotes are forging their own path. They are partnering with Meruelo Gaming, a company of Coyotes’ majority owner Alex Meruelo.

The launch will allow SaharaBets to capture several major events like the NFL playoffs, Super Bowl betting and the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open. They missed out on the first four months of sports betting in Arizona, including the best debut month for a legal US sports betting market.

SaharaBets future

Meruelo became the majority owner of the Coyotes in 2019. On the gaming side, Meruelo owns the Sahara Las Vegas and the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, NV.

Arizona will be the first launch for the sportsbook, but SaharaBets President Andrew Patterson told the Phoenix Business Journal there are plans to eventually take it into other markets.

“Long-term we hope to be in as many states as possible,” Patterson said.

The retail sportsbooks at the two Nevada properties carry the William Hill brand.

Sports betting key for fan engagement

In a statement, Coyotes President and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez said the team is “dedicated to providing innovative and entertaining experiences” for fans. Special offers will be available on Coyotes games, according to the statement.

Unlike most other teams in the Phoenix area, a retail sportsbook is not yet in the works. The Coyotes are slated to leave their current Gila River Arena home in Glendale at the end of this season. Still, a sportsbook could be part of any new arena situation, including a proposed development in Tempe.

Arizona sports betting partnerships

Professional sports teams were an important factor in Arizona sports betting legislation, with 10 licenses allocated to them along with the 10 for the state’s tribes.

AZ sports team partnerships:

  • DraftKings and TPC Scottsdale
  • FanDuel and the Phoenix Suns
  • BetMGM and the Arizona Cardinals
  • Caesars and the Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Bally Bet and the Phoenix Mercury
  • Barstool Sportsbook and the Phoenix Raceway
  • BetRivers and the Arizona Rattlers

Big first two months in AZ

The Arizona Department of Gaming released the first two months of sports betting revenue reports on Dec. 31, 2021. That includes a first-month record handle of $291.2 million in September.

The overall handle jumped to $486.1 million in October. The state, however, has collected relatively little in taxes so far because of sportsbooks deducting promotional spending.

With more sportsbooks set to launch, the maturing market will likely continue to grow amongst the top markets in the US. DraftKings has been the market leader through the first two months.

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Pat Evans

Pat Evans is a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based reporter covering sports business. Evans previously worked at Front Office Sports and the Grand Rapids Business Journal. He has authored two books: Grand Rapids Beer and Nevada Beer.

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