Yavapai Prescott Indian Tribe and Arizona are close to reaching a settlement in sports betting lawsuit.

Yavapai Prescott Indian Tribe, State Nearing Settlement in Arizona Sports Betting Lawsuit
Fact Checked by Young Ruth

The Yavapai Prescott Indian Tribe is close to reaching a resolution in its Arizona sports betting lawsuit that has been ongoing for a while.

In the latest court filing on March 29 in Maricopa County Superior Court, lawyers for Arizona Governor Doug Ducey stated that they have made advancements in resolving the case. However, more time is needed to complete all details of the settlement.

In late February, lawyers for both sides filed a motion stating that they had reached a preliminary settlement agreement but needed more time to obtain final approval.

Obtaining approval from the U.S. Department of the Interior for changes to the state’s gaming compact typically requires additional time, with the review and approval process lasting around 45 days.

The parties are in agreement that a 60-day stay is suitable and reasonable in this instance, given the intricate nature of the issues at hand and the participation of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The requested stay aims to allow the parties ample time to come to a resolution on the current legal proceedings.

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Understanding the Implications of the Recent Lawsuit Update

Derrick Beetso, the director of the Indian Gaming and Self Governance Programs at Arizona State University’s College of Law, stated in an email that the latest development in the tribal gambling lawsuit is a procedural step that allows both parties to finalize their settlement with the federal government.

Beetso was hopeful that the extension request signaled advancement towards resolving the case, which has been pending for eight months since it was initially presented to Judge James Smith in Maricopa County Superior Court concerning new Arizona sports betting apps.

In the email, Beetso detailed that the parties have asked for a pause in the litigation to secure the required approvals from state, tribal, and federal authorities for their tentative agreement. This indicates progress towards resolving the issue, potentially including changes to the tribal-state compact that must be approved by the Department of the Interior and published in the Federal Register. Despite the time-consuming nature of these approvals, both parties are optimistic that a 60-day timeframe will be adequate. Their ultimate goal is to reach a settlement and have the litigation officially closed by May 31, 2022.

How did we reach this point?

In late August 2021, the YPIT filed a lawsuit alleging that Arizona House Bill 2772, which permitted sports betting in the state, was in breach of the state’s Voter Protection Act and Proposition 202, which legalized gaming on Indian land.

On Labor Day, Judge Smith dismissed the initial complaint filed in late August, ruling that the YPIT had failed to demonstrate the necessity of the legal action.

In late September, the Tribe filed an amended complaint, which led the Governor’s legal team to file a motion to dismiss in mid-October. The argument put forward was that the Tribe’s delay in filing the complaint could have serious repercussions for the 10 Arizona tribes and eight sports teams that had already secured sports betting licenses.

Since November, the two parties have been working together on reaching a settlement. By January, they had reached an agreement on a new timeline for the case as they approached a resolution.

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Author

Peterson Christopher

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

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