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Arizona Sports Betting Lawsuit Appears Headed for Settlement

Christopher Boan for Bookies.com

Christopher Boan  | 3 mins

Arizona Sports Betting Lawsuit Appears Headed for Settlement

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It appears a lawsuit seeking to derail Arizona sports betting is headed toward an out-of-court settlement.

The litigation was brought by northern Arizona’s Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe in late August, arguing Arizona House Bill 2772, which legalized sports betting in the state, was a violation of the state’s Voter Protection Act and Proposition 202, which legalized gaming on Indian land.

The two sides in the suit filed a joint report in the court Wednesday, with the Tribe, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Arizona Department of Gaming Director Ted Vogt requesting a 60-day stay in any court rulings about the case.

In the joint filing, the parties ask Maricopa County Superior Court Judge James Smith for the stay so they can reach a settlement that suits both sides, with a resolution date of Jan. 7 listed in the filing.

“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,” the filing reads. “Based on the foregoing, this Stipulated Motion is made not for the purposes of delay, but for good cause, and consistent with the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of this action under Ariz. R. Civ. P. 1.”

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Joint Filing Latest Turn in Case

The initial complaint filed in late August was dismissed on Labor Day by Smith, who said in his ruling the YPIT did not show why their legal action was necessary.

“The Tribe did not show that H.B. 2772 likely violates the Tribe’s rights regarding event wagering as compared to Sports Franchise Owners,” Smith’s Labor Day order read. “The Tribe did not show that public policy favors its requested injunctive relief.”

The Tribe filed an amended complaint in late September. The Governor’s legal team filed a motion to dismiss in mid October, arguing the Tribe waited too long to file its complaint, and that its actions could have dire consequences for the 10 Arizona tribes and eight sports teams that have received sports betting licenses.

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What the Latest Filing Means

Derrick Beetso, who serves as director of Arizona State University’s College of Law Indian Gaming and Self Governance Programs, said in an email to Bookies.com the tribe is likely filing this motion to get something out of their ongoing legal battle against the state.

“I think the Tribe would like to see something come out of all this, and they have an uphill battle litigating, so they may be incentivized to move toward resolution with the state if something is agreed to that they can live with,” Beetso said. “The state parties are probably wanting a clean slate and to put this behind them, so I could see them trying to work toward something too. The only question is how far apart they are on what it will take.”

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About the Author

Christopher Boan for Bookies.com
Christopher Boan
Christopher Boan has covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, with stops at ArizonaSports.com, Tucson Weekly and Green Valley News.