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Yavapai Prescott tribe sues AZ over new sports betting law

The Yavapai Prescott tribe is suing the state, alleging its new sports betting, event wagering...
The Yavapai Prescott tribe is suing the state, alleging its new sports betting, event wagering law violates the state's constitution.(AP GraphicsBank)
Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 9:27 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Attorneys for the Yavapai Prescott Indian tribe filed a lawsuit against Gov. Doug Ducey and Arizona Department of Gaming director Ted Vogt, alleging state lawmakers illegally passed the state’s new sports betting, event wagering bill in April.

The tribe filed the lawsuit on Thursday in Maricopa County Superior Court.

The tribe’s attorneys argue the passage of the law violated the state’s Voter Protection Act, as it permits non-tribal gaming operators to gamble outside of tribal land.

As a result, the tribe argues, the new law distorts the purpose of the “Indian Gaming Preservation and Self-Reliance Act,” authorizing Native American tribes in the state to operate limited forms of gambling in tribally-owned casinos and violates the state’s ban on special laws granting special benefits to specific entities, groups or individuals.

Lawyers also say the passage of the law as an emergency measure, under which it immediately took effect, was also unconstitutional.

The law grants 10 commercial sports betting licenses to professional sports team owners or franchises, the operator of the sports facility that hosts an annual Professional Golf Association tournament and the promoter of a NASCAR touring race. Additionally, the law grants 10 licenses to Arizona tribes.

“This means that only 10 out of 22 of the State’s federally recognized Indian tribes will be granted this license,” the news release from tribal lawyers reads.

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