Judge asks for information in Arizona sports betting lawsuit

Judge Requests Information in Arizona Sports Betting Lawsuit

The Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe advanced in their legal challenge to overturn the legalization of sports betting in Arizona last week.

Judge James Smith asked Governor Doug Ducey’s lawyers for more information on why his office is allowing two Arizona-based tribes to intervene on behalf of the state in a filing made on Friday.

On August 27, the YPIT submitted a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court seeking to have Arizona House Bill 2772, which authorized Arizona betting apps, and the 2021 gaming compact deemed unconstitutional for violating Proposition 202, which allowed gambling on tribal land.

On Labor Day, Judge Smith threw out the tribe’s first complaint, saying that the lawsuit was without merit.

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What is the latest update on the lawsuit?

Attorneys for Ducey have submitted a motion on Oct. 18 to dismiss the YPIT lawsuit, citing the Tribe’s late filing of the complaint and the potential harm it could cause to 10 Arizona tribes and eight sports teams with licenses.

In Friday’s filing, the judge requested the governor’s lawyers to answer a series of questions related to a motion to intervene in the case brought by the Tonto Apache Tribe of Arizona and the Quechan Tribe of the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation.

The questions center on the reasons for the state’s approval of the two tribes’ intervention on behalf of the Governor.

Judge Smith is first asking if the Governor admits to not being able to effectively represent the Tribes’ interests in this case. If the Governor does acknowledge this, the Judge wants to know exactly where the disagreements lie between the Governor’s position and that of the Tribes on Proposition 202, H.B. 2772, and the revised compacts.

The Implications of the Latest Filing

Derrick Beetso, director of the Indian Gaming and Self Governance Programs at Arizona State University’s College of Law, mentioned in an email to yengols.com that Smith’s survey is geared towards uncovering the rationale behind the belief held by Ducey’s office that it requires external support to effectively represent itself.

In his email, Beetso clarified that the court is currently assessing the potential impact of the tribes seeking to intervene in the case. Specifically, the court is considering whether the Governor’s office is confident in its ability to represent the tribes’ interests without their direct involvement. If the Governor’s office believes it can effectively advocate for the tribes, intervention may not be required.

Beetso also mentioned that Smith’s entry seeks to evaluate the significance of the intervening tribes in determining the admissibility of the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe’s amended complaint in court.

Beetso also noted that there are concerns about whether the tribes are essential parties, suggesting that a court ruling without their participation would be unjust or unfeasible.

The deadline for Ducey’s office to file a supplemental brief with the court is November 1. Following this, Smith will determine whether the updated lawsuit will advance to a hearing.



Peterson Christopher

Peterson Christopher, who has over seven years of experience covering sports and sports betting in Arizona for outlets such as ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly, and the Green Valley News, is now the lead writer at yengols.com.

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