Tribe's Lawsuit Challenges Arizona Law On Gambling Expansion

PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona tribe that didn't sign a revised gambling compact with the state earlier this year, has filed a lawsuit alleging that a new state law is unconstitutional and left some rural tribes in the cold by excluding them from negotiations hamming out the legislation.

The suit filed by the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe on Thursday asks the court to prevent the Department of Gaming from issuing sportsbook licenses and allowing sports betting, the Arizona Republic reported.

The lawsuit said the state presented the tribe with an amended compact “as a non-negotiable, ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ proposition."

The lawmaker who sponsored the gambling legislation defended it as fair and equitable.

The timing of the lawsuit “at the dawn of selection rather than during the legislative session or upon the bill’s enactment, amount to an end-around on that qualifications-based awarding process,” state Sen. T.J. Shope, R-Coolidge, said Friday.

The legislation signed by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey last spring expands the types of gambling allowed at tribal casinos, lets tribes and pro sports teams take bets on sport evenings and licenses six operators to sign up players for betting on fantasy virtual games.

A judge scheduled an emergency hearing next Friday on the suit.