Tonto Apache Tribe Continues Arizona Sports Betting Operations Despite TwinSpires Shutting Down.

Tonto Apache Tribe Carrying on With Arizona Sports Betting Despite TwinSpires’ Closure
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The start of a wave of consolidation in the future has begun, as Churchill Downs’ TwinSpires Sportsbook has announced the closure of its mobile and retail sports betting operations.

TwinSpires originally announced the closure of its sports betting websites in Colorado, Indiana, New Jersey, and Tennessee in February.

Yet, the TwinSpires Arizona sportsbook continues to operate in partnership with the Tonto Apache Tribe.

According to Richard Verri, the attorney and spokesperson for the Northern Arizona tribe, the closure of TwinSpires is not expected to have a significant impact on the casino.

According to an email sent to by Verri, Churchill Downs, including its Twin Spires brand, has committed to upholding their contractual agreement with the Tribe. Verri further noted that they are seeing an increase in customers and are actively operating their mobile platform and retail sports book at Mazatzal Casino in Payson, Arizona.

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The future of sports betting appears to be heading towards consolidation.

The closure of TwinSpires Sportsbook is the first in a wave of anticipated closures or mergers of sportsbooks, both online and physical, as smaller brands struggle to compete with larger, more established companies.

In 2020, Caesars Entertainment acquired William Hill for over $3 billion, marking a significant event in the American sports betting market. Following the acquisition, Caesars Sportsbook Arizona has opened its permanent retail location at Chase Field.

In May, DraftKings, a prominent online company in the U.S., purchased the Golden Nugget Sportsbook, underscoring the increasing instability in the American market.

Ted Vogt, Director of the Arizona Department of Gaming, is unsurprised by the market consolidation and is primarily focused on protecting consumers in the event that Arizona sports betting apps close down.

Vogt informed that they expect industry consolidation, with some operators exiting the market or being acquired. Their top priority is to ensure a responsible wind-down of operations in the state.

Prior to completing our rules, we added a section detailing the guidelines for operators to responsibly cease operations. We are currently working closely with operators and engaging in daily consultations to prioritize consumer protection. As we navigate the early stages of our work in the state, our commitment is to prevent consumers from being at risk or neglected.

Is This a Sign of Things to Come?

Brandt Iden, the former Michigan state representative and current Head of Government Affairs at SportRadar, stated that the TwinSpires Sportsbook decision signifies the start of a new era in the industry.

He is unsure of how the closure of the Louisville operator will affect states like Arizona, but he believes that this will not be the last sports betting brand to shut down.

Iden stated that, to his knowledge, this has not happened in Michigan yet. TwinSpires is also wrapping up their sports betting operations in the state, but it remains uncertain where their license will go next. Iden told that he is not aware of any announcement regarding this transfer. This marks the initial instance of an operator consolidating in the industry, and Iden anticipates there will be additional instances in the future. It will be intriguing to observe how this situation develops.

I am uncertain of what to anticipate, but TwinSpires is broadening their reach nationwide with all of their licenses.

Attempts to reach multiple TwinSpires Sportsbook representatives were unsuccessful.

Verri made it clear that the Mazatzal Casino of the Tonto Apache Tribe will continue to offer retail and online sports betting services in Arizona, regardless of the operator’s choice.

He has confidence that the tribe’s sports betting system, which has accumulated $9.6 million in online sports betting bets since September 9th, will continue to produce revenue.

Verri invited all visitors to enjoy the cooler weather and hospitality at our Mazatzal gaming facility and sports book go-casinos. The Tribe sees statewide mobile event wagering as a beneficial economic development opportunity for the community.



Peterson Christopher

Peterson Christopher brings over seven years of experience covering sports and sports betting in Arizona. His previous work includes contributions to, the Tucson Weekly, and the Green Valley News. He currently serves as the lead writer at

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