Arizona Sports Betting Launch Threatened By Pair of Lawsuits

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Licenses, launches, and lawsuits, oh my. That’s how things are shaping up for Arizona, where legalized mobile sports betting is set to go live on September 9, unless legal action halts it.

The state has issued several operator licenses for sports betting in Arizona, but not all parties are on board in a process that involves an amended tribal-state gaming compact. The state has 22 tribal nations, and 20 of them signed the Tribal-State Gaming Compact Amendment with the Arizona Department of Gaming. But one of the two who did not, the Yavapai-Prescott, have filed a suit claiming that they were unfairly left out of the tribal-state gaming negotiations with Gov. Doug Ducey earlier this year.

Lawsuits By Yavapai-Prescott Tribe And Turf Paradise Horse Track

The last-minute Hail Mary effort by the Yavapai-Prescott threatens to derail the much-anticipated launch of sports betting in the state for the beginning of the football season. State officials have bipartisan support for sports betting, which will generate revenue for Arizona.

Also looming is a lawsuit by Turf Paradise horse racetrack in Phoenix, which claims that it was discriminated against during the license-granting process. Turf Paradise was denied a license by officials because it was not deemed a professional sports venue, which is required by Arizona law for consideration of a sports betting license. The racetrack has filed suit to dispute that classification, asking the court to halt the launching of sports betting until the issue is adjudicated. Further confusing the suit by Turf Paradise is the fact that racetracks are permitted to apply for a limited sports betting license, but it’s unclear whether they did so.

The state has scheduled an emergency court hearing for the Yavapai-Prescott case for this Friday, September 3 at 2 PM MT. A time has yet to be announced for the Turf Paradise case. It’s anticipated that the two legal issues will be resolved in some way prior to the schedule launch of sports betting in Arizona.

Approved Operators Ready For September 9 Sports Betting Launch

Meanwhile, the operators who were granted a license are busy preparing for the launch of retail and mobile sports betting in a state that according to public opinion polls, overwhelmingly supports sports betting. Those operators, including BetMGM, FanDuel, and DraftKings, are hurriedly readying Arizona sports betting promotions and bonuses for would-be bettors. Currently, tribal gaming at Arizona casinos generates more than $100 million a year in tax revenue for the state, according to the ADG. Tax revenue from sports betting will flow to education, trauma, and emergency services, the state Tourism Fund, as well as the Arizona Wildlife Conservation Fund.

About the Author
Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes

Writer and Contributor
Dan Holmes is a writer and contributor for Gaming Today with plenty of experience under his belt. Dan has written three books about sports and previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. Currently, Dan is residing in Michigan with his family.

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