Arizona Sports Betting Lawsuit Back In Progress After Amended Filing

Posted on September 30, 2021
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Written By on September 30, 2021

The lawsuit to stop Arizona sports betting is still rolling forward as the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe filed an updated amended complaint Monday.

The tribe had to resubmit its amended complaint at the request of the Maricopa County Superior Court. The original amended complaint was not paginated.

The lawsuit against Gov. Doug Ducey and Arizona Department of Gaming Director Ted Vogt argues the expansion of gaming through legislation was unconstitutional. As the Yavapai-Prescott continues its journey to stop AZ sports betting, at least two tribes are trying to get the case dismissed.

Arizona sports betting lawsuit

The Yavapai-Prescott filed its original complaint Aug. 26, the day before the ADG awarded sports betting licenses. The tribe argues the expansion of gaming in Arizona must be through voter initiative, not legislative action.

On Labor Day, Judge James Smith denied the tribe’s initial request for a preliminary injunction. Three days later, the tribe submitted an initial amended complaint.

The Yavapai-Prescott did not participate in compact negotiations with the state and said the process was “take-it-or-leave-it.” In a notice to intervene, Tonto Apache Tribe Chairman Calvin Johnson said it was always the Yavapai-Prescott’s intent to sue the state if they did not like the results of the compact process.

Intervenors want lawsuit dismissed

Along with the Tonto Apache, the Quechan Tribe of the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation filed a motion to intervene. Both tribes received one of the 10 sports betting licenses reserved for Arizona tribes.

The tribes argue that the amended tribal compacts with the state are legal under state and federal law, according to Rosette, LLP attorneys Robert Rosette and Saba Bazzazieh, who represent the Tonto and Quechan tribes.

“If someone wants to challenge the validity, we’re just letting the court know we’re party and beneficiary to those agreements,” Rosette said. “The relief that the Yavapai-Prescott is seeking is going too cause irreparable harm to our clients.

“It’s a reality the lawsuit is filed. It will impact our clients. We have to do our best to ensure it does not impact our clients.”

Rosette said they are seeking to have the case dismissed as indispensable parties.

AZ sports betting launched for NFL betting

Despite the lawsuit, Arizona sports betting launched Sept. 9, with the start of the NFL betting season.

The first several weeks have shown Arizona to be among the top US sports betting markets. According to GeoComply data, the Grand Canyon State trailed just three other states in sports betting activity during the first weekend:

There are eight sportsbooks live in Arizona while the ADG works through approving the rest of the 18 licenses awarded last month.

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Pat Evans

Pat Evans is a Las Vegas-based reporter covering sports business. Evans previously worked at Front Office Sports and the Grand Rapids Business Journal. He has authored two books: Grand Rapids Beer and Nevada Beer.

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