Inactive Arizona Coyotes Risk Losing Betting License

With the team's former assets now part of the Utah Hockey Club in Salt Lake City and a canceled auction to build a new stadium, the Arizona Coyotes franchise may lose its betting license.

Ziv Chen - Contributor at
Ziv Chen • Contributor
Jun 25, 2024 • 14:44 ET • 4 min read
Arizona Coyotes player Liam O'Brien
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The ability to play NHL hockey may not be the only loss suffered by the Arizona Coyotes this year.

On Friday, the Arizona Coyotes reported that the state had canceled an auction on a site the team was considering for building its new home stadium. Amid its struggle to find a home, the inactive NHL franchise now risks losing its sports betting license.

The Coyotes have been inactive since owner Alex Merulo sold the team's NHL players and game operations to Utah's Ryan and Ashley Smith in April. And while he still technically owns the name rights, team IP, records, and AHL (American Hockey League) affiliate franchise, it's now been reported that Merulo is set to walk away entirely.

Despite being classified as inactive, the Coyotes are still one of eight Arizona sports franchises eligible for a sports betting license from the Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG). Currently, the Coyotes offer sports betting in Arizona through a partnership with SaharaBet. However, without a venue to play its home games, the Coyotes are at risk of losing their betting license.

“Today, after a year of planning and meeting every obligation required under Arizona law, the Arizona State Land Department unilaterally canceled the auction that was scheduled to occur on 27 June for the site that has been identified as the future home of the Arizona Coyotes," the team said in a statement. "This unprecedented action by the state of Arizona seriously jeopardizes the future of NHL hockey returning to the desert.”

Betting licenses are a hot topic in Arizona as the ADG has announced plans to accept license applicants on July 8, with two new sportsbooks potentially being added to the state's catalog.

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