Yavapai-Prescott Tribe Looks to Stop Arizona Event Wagering Launch

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. Caitlin O’Hara/Getty Images/AFP

With the launch of legal sports betting in Arizona fast approaching, not everyone in the state is happy with the current state of events. The Yavapai-Prescott Tribe is accusing lawmakers in the state of favoritism and they aren’t the only ones either. According to reports, the Turf Paradise Racetrack in Phoenix is also filing suit as well.

Yavapai-Prescott Tribe Feels Process Was Not Fair

The Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe feels that they were not treated fairly during the process for legalizing sports betting in Arizona and they’re doing something about it. They have filed a lawsuit against Governor Doug Ducey and Arizona Department of Gaming Director Tod Vogt. In the lawsuit, they are alleging that state lawmakers passed the new sports betting bill illegally. The lawsuit was filed in Maricopa County Superior Court last week.

According to the Tribe’s lawyer, the law violates the state’s Voter Protection Act. The reason they claim this is that the law allows non-tribal gaming operators to gamble outside tribal land. As a result, they are claiming that it’s a distortion of the purpose of the “Indian Gaming Preservation and Self-Reliance Act” which gives tribes authority to operate limited forms of gambling in the state in tribal owned casinos. As part of the new Arizona legal gaming market, ten tribes were awarded licenses. As you can imagine, the Yavapai-Prescott tribe was not one of them. There were also eight commercial licenses granted as well.

Turf Paradise Racetrack Also Files Suit

Turf Paradise Racetrack in Phoenix also filed suit claiming many of the same things that their tribe is. T.P Racing, which owns Turf Paradise Racetrack is claiming that the Arizona Department of Gaming arbitrarily and capriciously denied the track’s application.

The suit seeks an injunction to delay the September 9th launch. In terms of those that have been approved for a license, not only are they anticipating that Sept. 9th launch, they’ve received permission to start marketing to potential customers ahead of that date. Players across the country that don’t yet have access to legalized sports betting, can go to OddsTrader once this changes. OddsTrader currently offers betting odds comparison in Illinois, Colorado, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan, Virginia, Iowa and West Virginia. With this new deal, Steelers fans can expect to have some amazing specials from both a sportsbook and casino perspective.

Tribe Feels Like Only Those in Metropolitan Included

Due to the fact that only 10 licenses were granted, some of the state’s tribes negotiated a new compact with Governor Ducey to be included in the process. The problem that the Yavapai-Prescott tribe has with that is that only tribes in Phoenix and Tucson were included. What that means for the tribes in rural areas is that they have been left on the outside looking in. Unfortunately for the Yavapai-Prescott tribe, their reservation and casinos are approximately 100 miles away from Phoenix.

Of course there are two sides to every story and the U.S Department of the Interior, which are the ones that signed off on the tribal compacts back in May, are saying they had good reason to do so. They claim that they agreed to the new compact in large part to the fact that the new compact and law actually work in tandem as well as the fact that the tribes were able to extract a significant concession.

In all honesty, any delay to the September 9th launch would be an absolute disaster for operators in the state. That date happens to be the start of the NFL season, easily the biggest money maker for any sportsbook located in the country. It would also be terrible news for sports betting fans who could care less about the red tape. Of course if the Yavapai-Prescott tribe has been done wrong, they should pursue legal action. That being said, sports betting fans in Arizona have been waiting a long time for this so hopefully, the courts can sort this out as soon as possible.

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