- Betfred Sports betting kiosks have launched at Arizona’s We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort.
- 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. Both are expected to launch in early 2022.
I’m going to preface every story aboutr Arizona sports betting with the same disclaimer until further notice. The market continues to expand despite the fact that at the regulatory level it does little more than serve the needs of state politicians’ political cronies and financial benefactors. Amid this sleaze, there is a fairly decent sports betting ecosystem coming together. Granted, it could be one of the best in the US were it not for the closed door machinations of state government. Instead, they get–as I described it earlier this year:
…a mishmash of dimwitted incompetence and sheer imperiousness on the part of the state’s political elite. In particular, the process of license allocation is nothing more than shameless cronyism and log-rolling with a veneer of objectivity slapped on create some ‘plausible deniability’.
Arizona has the 14th largest population in the US and would be doing massive numbers if the state’s government were more concerned about developing the sports betting ecosystem and not just juicing in a small group of political cronies. At some point, I’m hoping that the regulatory cesspool is cleaned up but until then there’s at least a reasonably good sports betting market for players.
Betfred USA Sports has been one of the ‘newcomers’ to the US market post-PASPA that has really made significant enroads and has become a major player in several states. They’re something of a ‘footnote to history’ for taking the first retail sports bet in Colorado history. They’re also up and running in Iowa, Pennsylvania and Louisiana–and will be coming soon to Nevada–they’re operating the sportsbook at the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas where the casino is run by Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment under the ‘Mohegan Sun’ brand name. They initially indicted a launch in November so they should launch their Silver State retail sportsbook soon with mobile betting expected to follow. In Louisiana, they’ve got a retail operation up and running at the Paragon Casino Resort in Marksville, with mobile betting listed as ‘coming soon’.
They’ve also began the first part of a three phased drop in Arizona. Earlier today, they issued a press release announcing the debut of Betfred Sports kiosks at We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort in Fort McDowell, AZ. The We-Ko-Pa property is owned and operated by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. A full scale retail sportsbook should be ready in early 2022 and the Betfred Sports mobile and online betting platform is forthcoming statewide, likely on the same timetable.
Mary Ketterling, general manager of the We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort is happy to have the Betfred kiosks up and running and looking forward to the full retail sportsbook that is coming in early 2022:
“When designing the We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort, the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation wanted it to be the place to be for local residents and area visitors interested in the latest-and-greatest gaming options. Adding sports betting further helps us make our beautiful casino the one-stop gaming destination they envisioned.”
Bryan Bennett, COO of Betfred Sports is excited about his company’s future growth in a new US jurisdiction:
“We are now one step closer to offering Arizona sports bettors a great betting experience with the new self-service kiosks at We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort. We look forward to opening the complete Betfred Sportsbook early next year.”
The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation is significant for running the first tribal gaming operation in Arizona history–a small bingo hall called ‘Baja Bingo’ opened in 1984. In 1992, the tribe added slot machines and rebranded as the Fort McDowell Casino. Initially, that attracted the ire of Arizona’s right wing windbag governor Fife Symington and the Federal Government–the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation stood up for their right of economic self determination and stared down the intrusive elements of the state and federal government. The tribe prevailed and ever since Arizona gaming has flourished.
The tribe has come a long way from these simple roots. The We-Ko-Pa Casino resort is less than a half hour from downtown Phoenix just outside of suburban Scottsdale and just 20 miles from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The property opened in October 29, 2020 replacing the original Fort McDowell Casino. The hotel at the Fort McDowell Casino remains open.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.