Amended Suit in Arizona Over Sports Betting Must Be Refiled
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It appears that attorneys representing the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe have until Friday to have their amended complaint over Arizona sports betting heard in court.
That’s the takeaway from an order sent to the tribe’s attorneys by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge James Smith on Monday.
Smith, in a two-page letter, said the tribe’s initial amended complaint, which was filed on Sept. 9, failed to meet the protocols that the judge put in place.
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The judge specifically cited the fact that the tribe’s exhibits came in at 257 pages - more than five times the number that Smith allowed them to submit - as a main reason for the tribe needing to resubmit its complaint.
“It is ordered that Plaintiff must file a revised amended complaint that complies with this division’s protocols,” Smith’s order reads. “This revised submission is due within five days of the Clerk filing this order. Defendants’ response to the amended complaint will be based on the revised submission.
“The Court encourages lead trial counsel for all parties to methodically review the Minute Entry filed August 27, 2021, to avoid future issues.”
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Arizona went live with sports betting on Sept. 9, in time for NFL betting. Arizona sportsbooks and sports betting apps got off to a strong start on the first weekend of the NFL season as the state saw the fourth-highest volume of bets placed in the U.S.
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What the Tribe’s Amended Complaint Includes
The tribe’s amended complaint revolves around the legality of the 2021 gaming compact, saying it’s in violation of Proposition 202, which legalized gaming activities on tribal lands in Arizona, among other items.
The original lawsuit also alleged that the updated compact was unconstitutional, as it authorized new methods of gaming, such as sports betting and Keno games, without voter approval.
The amended lawsuit filed by the tribe on behalf of presiding attorney Luis Ochoa argues that the legislation violates the state’s Voter Protection Act, as it did not allow the voting public to weigh in on the expansion of gaming.
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“This lawsuit seeks judgment declaring H.B. 2772 is unconstitutional because it violates the State’s Voter protection … the legislature’s power to amend initiative or referendum, and [Arizona’s prohibition of special laws pertaining to granting any corporation, association, or individual any special or exclusive privileges, immunities, or franchises] as an invalid and prohibited special law.
“And further declaring that the actions of the State of Arizona and its Governor in undermining Proposition 202’s voter-protected approval and authorization of gaming exclusivity within the State and defining the scope and forms of gambling, for Arizona’s Indian tribes.”
Attempts to reach Ochoa were not returned at press time.