A new market entrant
The majority owner of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes is launching an online sportsbook in the state. Alex Meruelo’s Meruelo Gaming LLC announced on Wednesday the upcoming launch of SaharaBets, which will be available to bettors in Arizona on January 12.
Arizona Coyotes are already on board as an official partner of the online sportsbook
The Arizona Coyotes are already on board as an official partner of the online sportsbook, giving Coyotes fans access to unique offers for games. There are currently no plans for a retail sportsbook at the team’s current home arena. The Coyotes are leaving the Gila River Arena at the close of this season, but a retail sportsbook has not been ruled out at the team’s new venue, similar to other professional teams in the state.
The Meruelo Gaming-owned Power Wagering LLC (dba SaharaBets) recently received a license from the Arizona Department of Gaming, allowing it to launch this sportsbook. The launch of SaharaBets comes ahead of some lucrative sporting events for operators, such as the NFL Playoffs, the Super Bowl, and the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open. Currently, two retail sportsbooks and nine online operators are accepting sports bets in Arizona.
A new form of entertainment for fans
In the launch announcement, SaharaBets president Andrew Patterson spoke about how it will bring the reputation of the SAHARA Las Vegas to Arizona sports fans. He said: “SaharaBets looks forward to collaborating with the Coyotes organization to engage and interact with sports fans in fun and unique ways.”
Arizona Coyotes CEO and president Xavier A. Gutierrez said that the organization was constantly looking at innovative ways to provide entertaining experiences to its fanbase. He said: “Our partnership with SaharaBets will offer next-level gaming experiences for fans who want to unleash their competitive spirit.”
A fast start in Arizona
There has been a strong start to legal sports betting in Arizona. The department of gaming recently provided figures for the first full month of sports betting in the state, reporting that the total betting handle in October was over $479m, placing it in seventh place out of 24 states with sportsbooks up and running. September’s handle was $291.2m, breaking the record for the highest handle set by a state in its opening month. The previous record was held by Nevada.
Most other major sports teams and organizations in Arizona already have deals in place with sportsbooks. DraftKings has a partnership with the PGA Tour to have a sportsbook at the TPC Scottsdale golf course when it plays host to the Waste Management Phoenix Open next month.
FanDuel has plans to open a retail sportsbook at the Phoenix Suns’ Footprint Center, while the Arizona Diamondbacks are set to have a Caesars sportsbook outside of its stadium this year. The Arizona Cardinals have a deal with BetMGM that will see the operator open a retail sportsbook in advance of the next NFL season at State Farm Stadium. Finally, the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury have a 15-year deal with Bally’s Corporation, the first time a women’s professional sports team has partnered with a sportsbook operator.
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