The Arizona Coyotes have partnered with two resorts in Nevada on a betting platform called “SaharaBets” that will launch on Jan. 12. The sports betting app will offer odds in football, basketball, baseball, hockey, golf, tennis, motor racing, MMA, soccer, and other sports, according to its website.
The SAHARA Las Vegas and the Grand Sierra Resort, both located in Reno, Nevada, have teamed with the Coyotes to produce what is one of the only sportsbooks that is partially owned and fully operated by a company under the control of a professional sports team that it’s partnered with. The sportsbook will be operated by Meruelo Gaming LLC, which is owned by Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo, who also owns the SAHARA Las Vegas and Grand Sierra Resort.
This move is seen as a confluence of Meruelo’s business interests, which include casinos/resorts, as well as the NHL’s Coyotes, restaurants, television and radio stations, and real estate, mostly on the west coast. The Cuban-American billionaire is considered a self-made success story, having begun his career selling tuxedos and later operating pizzerias.
In an official release announcing the imminent launch of SaharaBets, Coyotes President and CEO Xavier Gutierrez promised a top-notch sports betting platform.
“Our partnership with SaharaBets will offer next-level gaming experiences for fans who want to unleash their competitive spirit,” Gutierrez said.
The Coyotes seemed doomed only a dozen years ago, after facing bankruptcy in the 2009-10 season. The NHL was poised to move the franchise to Seattle, but a local ownership group saved the team. In 2019, Meruelo purchased majority ownership of the team, becoming the first Latino to own an NHL franchise. The Coyotes last made the NHL Playoffs in the 2011-12 season. Currently, they sit in last place in the Central Division with the league’s worst record.
Arizona Mobile Sportsbooks
Arizona mobile sports betting debuted on Sept. 9, and in just over four months it’s proved to be popular with residents. Thus far, according to the Arizona Department of Gaming, the sportsbook operators have handled over $773.million in sports bets. SaharaBets joins the list of sportsbooks operating in the state, which includes FanDuel Arizona, DraftKings Arizona, BetMGM Arizona, Caesars Sportsbook Arizona, BetRivers Arizona, and UniBet Arizona.