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Coyotes' new sports betting deal has ties to team owner Meruelo

The Coyotes have a "new sports betting partnership" with SaharaBets, a company owned by Coyotes Owner Alex Meruelo, according to Brandon Brown of the PHOENIX BUSINESS JOURNAL. The Coyotes were one of 18 entities “granted an event wagering license” in August from the Arizona Department of Gaming but, until now, the team had not “done anything with the license.” Power Wagering LLC, which does business as SaharaBets, is owned by Meruelo Gaming LLC. While named after the Sahara Las Vegas, SaharaBets is a new operation that “will launch its first mobile sportsbook app to the public on Jan. 12." It will “only be available” to bettors in Arizona. The company is planning on using its connections with the Coyotes and the Meruelo-owned Nevada hotels and casinos -- the Sahara and the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno -- to “set itself apart” from its competitors. SaharaBets is "only operating in Arizona" currently, but SaharaBets President Andrew Patterson said that the plan is to “start operating in other states in the future." The Coyotes are “taking a different approach” to sports betting than most of the professional sports teams in the state. The other sports teams "partnered with already existing sportsbook operators to run sports betting operations for them" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 1/5).

DIDN'T RUSH INTO ANYTHING: In Phoenix, Jose Romero notes the Coyotes "took their time to analyze the market before deciding go with a company ownership knows well with its current holdings." A live sportsbook like what the Suns have at Footprint Center "is not presently in the works, with the Coyotes set to leave Gila River Arena at the end of the season." However, it is possible that "such a facility could be part of the new arena proposal and plans the Coyotes have presented to the city of Tempe" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 1/5).

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