With Arizona sports betting launching all their pre-registration festivities this past weekend, the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe filed a lawsuit against Arizona. The tribe was not one of the many that signed the new gaming compact and are saying that the Arizona government forced tribes to sign for the new compact. The biggest note of the lawsuit is that it suggests the Department of Gaming halt issuing sportsbook licenses and allowing sports betting across the state.
Violation of Prop 202
The tribe is claiming that the legislation for sports betting is not constitutional. The main reason is that it violates tribal gaming laws, which were approved back in 2002. There is a Voter’s Protection Act within the state, which the tribes brought up as not allowing a proper vote.
The biggest takeaway from the lawsuit is that the tribe feels it does not benefit tribes and sports teams equally. There were ten mobile sports betting licenses filed for the states 22 tribes, and 10 for all the sports groups in the states. Of course, you can see the argument for them covering every sports team, yet 12 tribes are left out.
It will be an uphill climb to make this lawsuit drag down the launch of Arizona sports betting, especially with many tribes going ahead with the new gaming compact and already having partners.
Horse Track Lawsuit
There has also been another lawsuit filed by a group that owns Turf Paradise, which is a horse track in Phoenix. They were denied a mobile sportsbook license and have filed a lawsuit. The reasons for denial were that the facility did not meet the expectations of a sports venue.
They are now looking to delay the launch of sports betting with this lawsuit, mainly citing that there will be a competitive advantage for sportsbooks signing up ahead of them if they were ever to get a license down the road. There is an emergency hearing set for September 3rd for both lawsuits.
Horse tracks do not make up any of the awarded licenses so far, as they fall under professional sports venus. There are still two licenses left for professional sports venus/teams.
Will There Be A Delay For Arizona Sports Betting Launch?
It is unlikely that there will be a delay to the Arizona sports betting launch due to the lawsuits. As we have seen with other legalized states, there were lawsuits, and they were quickly settled upon launch. That is expected to be the case here.
License winners have already been announced, as eight tribes have already partnered with mobile sportsbooks, and two more have been awarded winners and are expected to announce partners soon. The professional sports teams have already made their partnerships and for some time now. The Arizona Coyotes are the only team not partnered at the moment but have a license at hand.
Many of these sportsbooks launched pre-registration and pre-launch events over the August 28th weekend that extends to the projected September 9th launch date. This is also the start of the NFL season, which was the goal for the Arizona launch.