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Christopher Boan for Bookies.com

By Christopher Boan | | 4 mins

Arizona Coyotes Announce Sports Betting Pact with SAHARA Las Vegas

Arizona Coyotes Announce Sports Betting Pact with SAHARA Las Vegas
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What is now just a subscription form will soon be the latest way for Arizonans to bet on sports when the website SaharaBets.com launches Jan. 12.

When the site launches it will become the 14th entry into the Arizona sports betting marketplace. Its debut was announced by the Arizona Coyotes of the National Hockey League and SAHARA Las Vegas on Wednesday.

The Coyotes were the last of the eight Arizona sports teams that received a license from the Arizona Department of Gaming in August to announce a partner.

In October, Brendan Bussman, director of government affairs for gaming and hospitality at consulting firm Global Market Advisors, told Bookies.com speculation was the Coyotes “wanted to sort of figure it out on their own and be able to go about it with more of an internal solution.”

That speculation proved accurate. The Coyotes are majority-owned by Chairman and Governor Alex Meruelo, who also owns the SAHARA Las Vegas and Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno. The retail sportsbooks at both the SAHARA and Grand Sierra are run in collaboration with William Hill, an English company that was acquired by Caesars Entertainment in April 2021.

What They’re Saying About SaharaBets

Coyotes President and CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez called the partnership a no-brainer for the club in a press release Wednesday.

“The Coyotes are dedicated to providing innovative and entertaining experiences for our great fans,” Gutierrez said in the press release. “Our partnership with SaharaBets will offer next-level gaming experiences for fans who want to unleash their competitive spirit.”

SaharaBets President Andrew Patterson said the company was glad to bring the SAHARA brand to Arizona.

“SaharaBets brings the excitement and reputation of the iconic SAHARA Las Vegas to sports fans here in Arizona,” Patterson said in the press release. “As the sports betting landscape continues to evolve in the Valley, SaharaBets looks forward to collaborating with the Coyotes organization to engage and interact with sports fans in fun and unique ways.”

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How Coyotes Deal Impacts Arizona Marketplace

The deal between the Coyotes and SAHARA answers the final unknown among the eight Arizona sports teams that received sports betting licenses in August from the Arizona Department of Gaming.

Although slightly behind their fellow professional sports teams in the state, the Coyotes look like they will beat at least one team to market. The Phoenix Mercury announced a partnership with Bally’s Arizona in June, but have not launched operations.

A representative from Bally’s Arizona told Bookies.com the company will be operational ahead of the 180-day deadline for licensed operators to start taking bets.

The teams that have already launched operations are the Arizona Diamondbacks (Caesars Sportsbook Arizona), Arizona Cardinals (BetMGM Arizona), Arizona Rattlers (Rush Street Interactive/BetRivers Arizona) and Phoenix Suns (FanDuel Sportsbook Arizona).

Additionally, the PGA Tour/TPC Scottsdale (DraftKings Sportsbook Arizona), and Phoenix International Raceway (Penn National Gaming/Barstool Sports) launched in 2021.

Of the 10 tribes in Arizona that received mobile licenses, only the Navajo Nation has yet to announce its partner. The Hualapai Tribe (Golden Nugget), and the San Juan Paiute Tribe (Digital Gaming) are the only others that have yet to launch operations.

Attempts to reach the Navajo Nation, as well as the Hualapai Tribe, Golden Nugget, the San Juan Paiute Tribe, and Digital Gaming were not returned.

Who’s Licensed to Operate in Arizona?

A total of 18 operators were licensed by the ADG in August, split between 10 tribes and eight professional sports teams.

Tribes that are part of the 2021 compact can conduct retail sportsbook operations on tribal grounds without a license. The Ak-Chin Indian Community, Gila River Indian Community, Tohono O’odham, and Pascua Yaqui Tribe have all recently opened retail sportsbooks.

Sports Betting Licensees
  • Ak-Chin Indian Community (Fubo Gaming)*
  • Arizona Cardinals (BetMGM Arizona)*
  • Arizona Coyotes (SaharaBets)
  • Arizona Diamondbacks (Caesars Sportsbook Arizona)*
  • Arizona Rattlers (BetRivers Arizona)*
  • Fort Mohave Indian Tribe (SuperBook Sports)*
  • McDowell Yavapai Nation (Betfred Arizona)*
  • Hualapai Tribe (Golden Nugget)
  • Navajo Nation (TBA)
  • Phoenix Mercury (Bally Bet)
  • Phoenix Speedway (Penn National Interactive/Barstool Sports)*
  • Phoenix Suns (FanDuel Sportsbook Arizona)*
  • Quechan Tribe (Unibet Arizona)*
  • San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe (Digital Gaming)
  • San Carlos Apache Tribe (WynnBET Arizona)*
  • Tohono O’odham Nation (Kambi Group)*
  • Tonto Apache Tribe (TwinSpires Sportsbook Arizona)*
  • TPC Scottsdale (DraftKings Sportsbook Arizona)*
Tribal Sportsbooks
  • Ak-Chin Indian Community (Caesars Sportsbook)*
  • Gila River Indian Community (BetMGM Arizona)*
  • Pascua Yaqui Tribe (Scientific Gaming)*
  • Yavapai-Apache Nation (IGT PlaySports)

* — Have launched operations

About the Author

Christopher Boan for Bookies.com
Christopher Boan
Christopher Boan has covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, with stops at ArizonaSports.com, Tucson Weekly and Green Valley News.