Arizona Coyotes Push for AZ Sports Betting Law Change Ahead of Move to ASU Arena

Written By Play AZ Editorial Team on April 6, 2022 - Last Updated on January 30, 2023

The Arizona Coyotes of the National Hockey League are asking the Arizona government to change a recently enacted law regarding sports betting in Arizona.

The Coyote’s request is related to their ability to operate Arizona sports betting services while playing home games on the Arizona State University (ASU) campus.

Arizona’s Native American tribes are pushing back against the proposals made by the Coyotes. The Arizona Indian Gaming Commission (AIGC) is opposed to any changes to a law that went into effect just last year.

The Coyotes are changing stadiums in 2022

The Arizona Coyotes will be playing home games at the new Arizona State University hockey arena in Tempe.

The team plans to play at the ASU arena for three years while they wait for their new hockey arena to go through the development process. The Coyotes are investing more than $1.7 billion in a new stadium in Tempe. They’re also investing $20 million in the new ASU arena as part of their deal to play there for the next three years.

Arizona sports betting laws have restrictions based on seating capacity

Arizona’s 2021 sports betting law stipulated that professional sports teams could operate sportsbooks only if their home stadium seats more than 10,000 people.

While Gila River Arena seats over 18,000 people, the ASU arena will only allow for seating for 5,000 people. Under the current law, the Coyotes would not be allowed to continue operating their mobile sports betting app while playing at the ASU arena.

The Coyotes have made it clear that they don’t intend to open a sportsbook while playing at the ASU arena. The team wants to continue operating its mobile sports betting app, which pulled in just $62,000 in bets in March.

The Coyotes operates the Sahara Bets betting app.

The Arizona Indian Gaming Commission disagrees with the Coyotes

The Coyotes believe that they should be allowed to continue their online sports betting app, while the AIGC disagrees, arguing that laws shouldn’t change to make exceptions for a single organization.

The tribes used to have exclusive rights to all sports betting in Arizona but waived those rights when the new law went into effect that allowed professional sports teams to operate sportsbooks.

The tribe argues that changing this law would be a violation of the terms that the AIGC agreed to when waiving their right to exclusivity.

Photo by AP / Paul Sancya
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