- Betfred will partner with the We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort for Arizona market access.
- The We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort in Fort McDowell, AZ is owned and operated by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation.
- Betfred will operate a retail sportsbook at the property as well as offer mobile and online betting throughout Arizona.
Add another well known brand as being poised to enter the Arizona sports betting market. Betfred USA Sports has signed an agreement with the We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort in Fort McDowell, AZ for retail, mobile and online betting. Betfred will operate a retail sportsbook at the property along with mobile and online betting throughout Arizona.
The We-Ko-Pa Casino resort is owned and operated by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and is less than a half hour from downtown Phoenix just outside of suburban Scottsdale. It’s just 20 miles from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The property opened in October 29, 2020 and replaced the original Fort McDowell Casino that opened in 1984 as a bingo hall. The hotel at the Fort McDowell Casino remains open. The bingo hall–originally named ‘Baja Bingo’–was not only the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation’s first foray into gaming but was the first tribal gaming operation in Arizona.
In 1992, slot machines were added and ‘Baja Bingo’ was renamed as the Fort McDowell Casino. Arizona’s governor at the time was a right wing windbag named Fife Symington who enlisted the Federal government in an attempt to deny the tribe their rights under the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Federal agents attempted to seize the slot machines which temporarily halted operations at the Fort McDowell property. As the Feds loaded gaming machines onto trucks the members of the tribal community brought every vehicle and piece of machinery they could find to block the access road which led to a three week standoff between the tribe and government. Eventually, the state blinked and signed a compact with the tribe which set the stage for gaming statewide. Not surprisingly, Symington was as crooked as a barrel of fish hooks and resigned in disgrace facing a slew of charges including extortion and bank fraud. The date of the illegal invasion by the Federal government–May 12–is now a tribal holiday.
The tribe has come a long way from these simple roots. The We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort is now a 166,341-square-foot property offering a 24/7 casino with table games, a poker room and hundreds of slots and video poker machines. There are a variety of dining options ranging from the Ember fine dining to more casual options including a buffet. The attached AAA Four Diamond hotel offers 246 luxurious guestrooms and suites, meeting space, two outdoor pools, and an onside spa. The casino is close to a pair of excellent golf courses at the We-Ko-Pa Golf Club. The entire property is architecturally stunning and provides first rate gaming, hospitality and dining top to bottom.
It’ll get even better with the addition of a Betfred USA powered retail sportsbook, expected to open in late 2021. In addition, Betfred will partner with the We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort to offer mobile and online betting throughout Arizona. Bernadine Burnette, President of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, is excited about sports betting and working with Betfred:
“The partnership announcement with Betfred Sports marks a new chapter for We-Ko-Pa. We are excited about the prospect of sports betting in Arizona, and are thrilled to pursue an event wagering license to allow us to offer sports betting to our retail and digital customers.”
Mark Stebbings, Betfred Group Chief Operating Officer, is looking forward to extending the brand to another US state:
“Arizona is an amazing opportunity for Betfred Sports to continue its expansion in the US after successful launches in Iowa, Colorado and Pennsylvania. We look forward to working with our fantastic partner, the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, to leverage our 50 years of bookmaking experience to bring the best betting options to Arizona sports fans.”
Betfred was the first retail sportsbook to accept a bet in Colorado and has become a major player in the state. They’re currently up and running in Iowa, Pennsylvania and Colorado and will be coming soon to Nevada–they’re operating the sportsbook at the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas expected to open in November.