AZ Sports Betting Lawsuits Get Emergency Hearings Friday

Posted on August 30, 2021 - Last Updated on August 31, 2021
AZ sports betting
Posted By on August 30, 2021
Last Updated on August 31, 2021

Two emergency hearings scheduled for Friday could delay or halt the rollout of AZ sports betting if either leads to an injunction.

Both the Yavapai-Prescott Tribe and Turf Paradise race track filed for injunctions to stop Arizona sportsbooks from launching. They should go live Sept. 9, just six days after the emergency hearing.

The race to launch online AZ sportsbooks the same night the NFL season kicks off could screech to a halt based on those hearings.

The Arizona Department of Gaming already handed out 18 licenses last week. Operators started signing up people for accounts as early as Saturday.

Details on AZ sports betting lawsuits

Both lawsuits want to stop sports betting in Arizona from launching, but for different reasons. The suits list Gov. Doug Ducey and ADG Director Ted Vogt as defendants.

The Yavapai-Prescott civil lawsuit will be heard first at 1 pm local time. The suit alleges HB 2772 violates the state constitution and the exclusivity of tribal partners to offer gaming.

Of the 18 licenses awarded Friday, eight went to professional sports organizations. Another 10 went to tribal partners, out of 16 applicants.

The lawsuit also alleges passing the bill through emergency measures went against the state constitution.

Turf Paradise wants a license

Turf Paradise’s appeal will be heard at 2 pm in the hopes of landing an AZ sports betting license.

Its denial of an event wagering license by the ADG was “arbitrary and capricious, not supported by substantial evidence, and/or an abuse of discretion,” according to the lawsuit. Turfway applied for one of the licenses set aside for professional sports franchises.

The lawsuit (posted by the Arizona Mirror) notes that even the ADG acknowledged Turf Paradise as a professional sports franchise on its website. The section is worded differently compared to what the lawsuit quotes.

The lawsuit quotes the ADG website as saying “Opened in 1956, Turf Paradise was one of the first organized professional sports franchises in Arizona.” The section does not use the word professional:

“That dream became a reality on January 7, 1956, when Turf Paradise opened its doors becoming one of Arizona’s first sports franchises.”

PointsBet, BlueBet acknowledge AZ denials

Australian-listed PointsBet and BlueBet each issued market announcements concerning their application denials in Arizona.

BlueBet reminded investors that Arizona was not initially part of its launch plans. It also softened the blow by mentioning its Iowa sportsbook agreement received approval Friday.

The ADG did not provide any additional information as to why the Yavapai-Apache Nation‘s application was denied, PointsBet said. The company “continues to assess market access opportunities in Arizona.”

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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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