Sep 20, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; General view of the goal line, yard marker hashmarks and scoring pylon in the end zone during the Arizona Cardinals game against the Washington Football Team at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Lawsuits could delay Arizona sports betting launch

Emergency hearings have been scheduled for Friday that could delay the launch of sports betting in Arizona that is planned for Thursday, September 9.

Late last week state regulators in Arizona announced the successful applicants for 18 of the state’s 20 sports betting licenses. They included the state’s eight professional sports teams and 10 tribal licensees. Those results didn’t sit well with everyone as two lawsuits were launched against the Arizona Department of Gaming.

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The first lawsuit was launched by the Yavapai-Prescott Tribe, who named Governor Doug Ducey and Arizona Department of Gaming director Ted Vogt in the suit. They’re asking for an injunction to stop the licensure process and delay the launch of sports betting in the state.

The exact wording in the lawsuit stated; “Enter a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, and ultimately a permanent injunction enjoining any issuance to, maintenance or operation of licenses under H.B. 2772.”

The tribe’s suit alleges that the state’s sports betting bill violates the state constitution. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges it violates the Voter Protection Act, the Equal Protection Clause, and the prohibition against special laws and impermissible emergency measures pursuant to under the Arizona Constitution. They also claim that the sports betting bill infringes on tribes’ exclusivity to offer gaming in the state.

The other lawsuit was launched by the Turf Paradise race track to try and obtain a sports betting license after being denied through the application process. Turf Paradise alleges their denial of a license was ‘arbitrary and capricious, not supported by substantial evidence, and/or an abuse of discretion.

Turf Paradise applied for one of the professional sports franchise licenses and their lawsuit notes that the Arizona Department of Gaming acknowledges the race track as a professional sports franchise on their website.

The Yavapai-Prescott Tribe’s lawsuit is scheduled to be heard at 1 p.m. on Friday, while the Turf Paradise lawsuit will be heard at 2 p.m. on the same day. If either lawsuit is successful, it could delay Arizona’s scheduled sports betting launch.