The Tonto Apaches have announced that they have become the first Native American tribe in Arizona to open a live onsite retail sportsbook at their Mazatzal Hotel and Casino in Payson.
The Mazatzal Hotel & Casino now allows onsite retail sports wagering on the outcomes of professional, college, and international sport and athletic events, thanks to a collaboration with the Churchill Downs-owned TwinSpires sportsbook.
The Tonto Apache tribe will also start mobile sports betting nationwide through the TwinSpires web app on Thursday, September 16 at 9 a.m. local time.
Tonto Apache is one of ten tribes who sought for and were recently granted sports betting licences as a result of new legislation known as HB 2772.
Sports betting licence
The Fort Mojave Indian Tribe and its SuperBook Sports partner, the Navajo Nation, Quechan Tribe and Unibet Arizona, Tohono O’odham Nation, Hualapai Tribe and Golden Nugget, Ak-Chin Indian Community, San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe and Digital Gaming, San Carlos Apache Tribe with Wynn, and Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, were among those who joined them. In addition, eight sports organisations were granted permits.
Calvin Johnson Tonto Apache chair said: “Over the last several years, we have worked diligently to secure our sports wagering license and today marks a significant milestone for Tonto Apache.
“In conjunction with our world class partner, we look forward to offering a dynamic sportsbook, supporting the local community and bringing more visitors and sports fans to the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino. This opportunity will also present great opportunities and economic benefits for our people.”
A sports betting lawsuit filed by the Yavapai Prescott Indian Tribe in Arizona earlier this month was denied by the Maricopa County Superior Court, which attempted to halt a planned debut later that week.
The tribe had requested the court to block the execution of HB 2772, arguing that it is unconstitutional and that the expansion and new wagering options authorised by the statute and revised compacts will unfairly harm them.