The Churchill-Downs-owned TwinSpires announced Friday it is partnering with the Tonto Apache Tribe in a bid to enter the newly legalized Arizona sports betting market.

The Tonto Apache Tribe – the potential candidate for Arizona sports betting license – owns and operates the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino.

The partnership includes mobile and retail sportsbook access to Arizona sports betting for TwinSpires – an online wagering brand for horse racing and sports.

Churchill Downs Incorporated had rebranded its online sportsbook and iGaming platform to TwinSpires, which operated as BetAmerica before this January.

TwinSpires and the other operators could be ready for NFL betting this fall as the state officials say Arizona sports betting is on track to meet its scheduled launch date of Sept. 9.

The Arizona Department of Gaming has yet to award the 20 authorized licenses, including 10 for the state’s gaming tribes.

Partnership Details

The partnership enables TwinSpires to open a retail sportsbook within the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino, besides launching its mobile sportsbook within the Copper State. It can happen only if the gaming tribe wins a license and other regulatory approvals.

Churchill Downs – the parent company of TwinSpires – hosts the Kentucky Derby and claims to have almost 150 years of gaming and wagering experience in the country, according to a news release.

“The team behind the most thrilling two minutes in sports is excited to partner with the Tonto Apache Tribe and extends offering our leading sports betting product and promotions to fans throughout the Copper State,” said TwinSpires President, Ian Williams.

The partnering tribe’s Chairman Calvin Johnson said that Tonto Apache Tribe looks forward to supporting the local community and attracting more visitors to their casino and their “beautiful county” with the help of their world-class partner.

Arizona, Seventh Market For TwinSpires

TwinSpires – whose brand transition from BetAmerica began with CDI’s digital sportsbook and iGaming launch in Michigan in January – is currently available in six states.

Arizona would be the seventh state for the online sportsbook after Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania.

Churchill Down’s BetAmerica sportsbook and online gaming platform in New Jersey can also see a transition to the TwinSpires brand later this year.

TwinSpires Deal, Ninth Partnership in Arizona

The TwinSpires deal with the Tonto Apache Tribe is the ninth sports betting partnership in the Copper State.

Most giants have already struck partnerships to get their share of Arizona sports betting whenever it’s available. Except for BetMGM, all the leading operators have announced their moves.

FanDuel announced Arizona market access deal with Phoenix Suns; DraftKings did it via TPC Scottsdale/PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.

The other deals announced so far are:

  • Caesars and the Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Bally’s and the Phoenix Mercury
  • Barstool Sportsbook with Phoenix Raceway
  • Kindred Group and the Quechan Tribe
  • PointsBet and the Yavapai-Apache Nation
  • WynnBET and the San Carlos Apache Tribe

Arizona Sports Betting Wrapping Up For Timely Launch

Arizona sports betting is on track for a scheduled launch on Sept. 9, coinciding with the NFL kickoff. The Department of Gaming began accepting applications this Monday that will run through two weeks starting July 26.

The ADG has to award the 20 licenses, including 10 for the Copper State’s professional sports teams and 10 for the state’s gaming tribes.

TwinSpires will be anxiously hoping for its partnering tribe to secure a license to operate. There are far more gaming tribes than the available licenses.

The ADG has worked swiftly to meet the self-proclaimed launch date of Sept. 9.

Gov. Doug Ducey had signed sports betting along with the gaming compacts on April 15. The US Department of the Interior approved the renegotiated tribal compact in May.

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