Arizona Coyotes owner launches SaharaBets in AZ
January 6, 2022
The largest shareholder of the Arizona Coyotes of the National Hockey League is opening an online sportsbook in the state. Meruelo Gaming LLC, owned by Alex Meruelo, announced on Wednesday the imminent launch of SaharaBets, which is set to be accessible to Arizona wagers on January 12.
The Arizona Coyotes have already signed on as an official partner of the online sportsbook, providing Coyotes fans access to exclusive gaming offerings. A retail sportsbook is not currently planned for the team's current home arena.
The Coyotes will leave the Gila River Arena at the end of the season, but a retail sportsbook, similar to that of other professional teams in the state, has not been ruled out at the team's next venue.
Newest addition for sports enthusiasts
The Arizona Department of Gaming recently granted Meruelo Gaming-owned Power Wagering LLC (dba SaharaBets) a license, authorizing it to build this sportsbook. SaharaBets' launch comes ahead of many profitable athletic events for operators, including the NFL Playoffs, the Super Bowl, and the PGA Tour's Waste Management Phoenix Open. In Arizona, sports bets are now accepted by two retail sportsbooks and nine internet operators.
SaharaBets president Andrew Patterson stated in the launch announcement that the company will extend the reputation of the SAHARA Las Vegas to Arizona sports fans. “SaharaBets looks forward to collaborating with the Coyotes organization to engage and interact with sports fans in fun and unique ways,” he said.
Xavier A. Gutierrez, CEO and President of the Arizona Coyotes, remarked that the firm was always seeking new methods to excite its fans, saying “Our partnership with SaharaBets will offer next-level gaming experiences for fans who want to unleash their competitive spirit.”
The legalization of sports betting in Arizona has gotten off to a fantastic start. The department of gaming recently released numbers for the state's first full month of sports betting, claiming that the total wagering handle in October was more than $479 million, putting it in seventh place out of 24 states with sportsbooks operating.
The handle in September was $291.2 million, beating the record for the largest handle established by a state in its first month. Nevada had previously held the record. In Arizona, online wagers accounted for 99 percent of total transactions in September and October. During the first two periods, DraftKings was the leading market leader.
The majority of Arizona's major sports clubs and organizations already have contracts with sportsbooks. For example, DraftKings has partnered with the PGA Tour to establish a sportsbook at the TPC Scottsdale golf facility, which is set to host the Waste Management Phoenix Open next month.
FanDuel intends to build a retail sportsbook at the Phoenix Suns' Footprint Center, while the Arizona Diamondbacks will have a Caesars sportsbook outside of their stadium this year. The Arizona Cardinals have agreed to a contract with BetMGM that will see the operator launch a retail sportsbook at State Farm Stadium in time for the upcoming NFL season.
Finally, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury have signed a 15-year contract with Bally's Corporation, marking the first time a women's professional sports club has collaborated with a sportsbook operator.