Both sides in the lawsuit to stop Arizona sports betting are working toward a resolution.
In August, The Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe filed a lawsuit against Gov. Doug Ducey and Arizona Department of Gaming Director Ted Vogt. The AZ sports betting market launched Sept. 9.
On Monday, the two parties jointly filed a motion to stay the case for 60 days.
“The parties now believe it in the interest of justice and judicial economy to stay this case 60 days, or until and including January 7, 2022, to allow the parties additional time to continue discussions and reach resolution,” the motion reads. “The parties believe a 60-day stay is necessary and reasonable in the context of this case, particularly given the complexity of the issues presented, the multiple parties involved, and the time it would take to effectuate such a settlement, should one be reached.”
Quiet October for AZ sports betting lawsuit
The Maricopa County Superior Court denied the Yavapai-Prescott’s original request for an injunction Sept. 6. Judge James Smith said the tribe failed to provide sufficient evidence for their claim that the expansion of gaming was unconstitutional.
The tribe later submitted an amended complaint three days later but had to refile a paginated complaint, which it did Sept. 27.
Since that amended complaint filing, the case was primarily quiet the entire month of October. Monday’s filing said the parties met for “settlement discussions.”
Core arguments from both sides
The Yavapai-Prescott argue the expansion of gaming must be through voter mandate, not legislative action. The Yavapai-Prescott also said the expansion of gaming limits the growth of tribes outside of the Phoenix metro area.
The defendants said the Yavapai-Prescott declined to participate in the multi-year effort to renegotiate tribal compacts, which led to the expansion. Several tribes support the defendants in the lawsuit.
“They’re asking the court to turn back the clock so they can get a do-over,” Ducey’s General Counsel Anni Foster said during the Sept. 6 hearing. “[The tribe] did not demonstrate any of their arguments … [they] conflated their angst over HB 2772 with smoke and mirrors to support their allegations.”
Arizona sports betting off to big start
According to GeoComply data, Arizona was a major US sports betting market through the first four weeks of the NFL season. The ADG plans to release its first sports betting revenue report Nov. 29.
The ADG awarded 18 licenses Aug. 27, with two licenses still available for professional sports organizations in Arizona. All 10 licenses available to the state’s 22 tribes were awarded.
So far, there are nine online sportsbooks live in the state, and regulators are working to approve the remaining license applications.