Sports betting operators were eagerly anticipating the regulation of the Arizona sports betting market later this month, ahead of the start of the National Football League (NFL) season.
However, developments in the Southwestern state may grind to a halt as a result of a lawsuit by the Native American Yavapai-Prescott Tribe against Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and Arizona Department of Gaming Director, Ted Vogt.
The Yavapai-Prescott aim to prevent the launch of the sports betting market in Arizona, arguing that the legislation doing so and associated updated compacts with tribes is in violation of the state’s Constitution.
The case was heard today (6 September), potentially delaying or outright stopping the planned opening of Arizona’s sports betting sector later this week on 9 September.
“There are multiple lawsuits, the views are not frivolous from what we hear, they have some good standing,” said Dustin Gauker, commenting on the case on the latest episode of the Legal Sports Report.
“I don’t know what the chances of the one regarding PointsBet and one of the casinos is, but an administrative error was the reason why they were told they got a sports betting licence when they didn’t. How does that even happen?”
He continued: “I know people make mistakes, but that’s a pretty awful one in my book. I don’t know what we’re handicapping this at all. There’s a non-zero chance that we don’t have sports betting in Arizona on Saturday night, putting a number on it – I don’t know.
“There are people who are worried about it, I know operators are worried about it even though they have these pre-launch offers, they’re expecting to go live, but there are scenarios where it could be delayed or it could be declared by a court to be unconstitutional, then we may be back to the drawing board.”
Fellow LSR co-host Adam Candee added: “When it comes to the PointsBet/Cliff Castle situation where they were erroneously informed that they had received a licence, they’re still holding their powder dry on whether they want to do anything legally or not.
“This other lawsuit coming from the Yavapai-Prescott – not the Yavapai-Apache, who are partnered with PointsBet – PointsBet is also considering going with another partner. There are two licences approved by the state who don’t have sportsbook partners yet, so that’s another thing hanging out there beyond this first lawsuit that could still potentially cause some problems.”
Legal gongs on the state could well be a cause of concern for DraftKings, BetMGM, FanDuel and Penn National/Barstool Sportsbook, who have made their intention to operate in Arizona clear, with hopes to launch prior to the upcoming NFL season.
Source – Legal Sports Report YouTube Channel