NHL-Affiliated Betway, SaharaBets Sportsbooks to Cease Operations

Two struggling sportsbooks with National Hockey League connections announced their intentions to shutter on Wednesday.

Betway, which was an official NHL sports betting partner since 2021, will vanish from the US sports betting market following an announcement from parent company Super Group.

SaharaBets, which was founded and run by former Arizona Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo, had been expected to stop taking bets after the hockey team was relocated to Utah.

SaharaBets had used the Coyotes as its market access vendor. There was speculation that the sportsbook could retain its necessary market access deal when Meruelo was allowed to keep the Coyotes branding and vowed to bring an expansion team back to the Phoenix area. He abandoned those plans, however, after failing to secure land for a new arena, leaving SaharaBets, a subsidiary of Meruelo Gaming LLC without a mooring.

Sportsbooks Didn’t Put the Biscuit in the Basket

Betway and SaharaBets came and went like an uneventful third-period shift by the checking line.

Betway, though ubiquitous via dasher board signage in arenas, offered sports bets only in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Indiana, Louisiana, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. According to the Gaming Today sports betting revenue tracker, it controlled just .1% of the US market share.

When the Betway partnership was announced in 2021, NHL Chief Business Officer and Senior Executive Vice President Keith Wachtel said Betway had “a very aggressive growth strategy” and called it “an ideal partner to engage with our avid fan base.”

The NHL still has a host of gambling partners. It renewed Caesars Sportsbook as an official sports betting and gaming partner in March and also has gambling associations with BetMGM, FanDuel, and ESPN Bet.

Betway had partnerships with several NBA teams, the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, New Jersey Devils, and Philadelphia Flyers.

The NHL declined a request for comment from Gaming Today about Betway’s decision.

Arizona Loses Two Sportsbooks in One Day

SaharaBets was available only in Arizona and garnered just .1% of the sports betting handle there in 2023. The WNBA Phoenix Mercury and Arizona Downs horse racing track were the only sports properties whose gambling partners generated less business than the Coyotes/SaharaBets tandem. It ranked 17th of 28 operators reporting betting data since 2022.

Betway had market access in Arizona through a partnership with the San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe. Betway accounted for .2% of Arizona sports betting handle since the state launched a legal market in 2021.

An Arizona Department of Gaming told Gaming Today in June: “Regarding the Coyotes’ license in Arizona, the Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) sent the Coyotes correspondence regarding the status of licensure in Arizona. ADG and the Coyotes are undergoing the appropriate administrative processes regarding action on this license.”

SaharaBets customers were informed via email the window for withdrawing funds would close in 30 days.

About the Author
Brant James

Brant James

Lead Writer
Brant James is a lead writer who covers the sports betting industry and legislation at Gaming Today. An alum of the Tampa Bay Times, ESPN.com, espnW, SI.com, and USA Today, he's covered motorsports and the NHL as beats. He also once made a tail-hook landing on an aircraft carrier with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and rode to the top of Mt. Washington with Travis Pastrana. John Tortorella has yelled at him numerous times.

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