Arizona sports betting is scheduled to begin on Thursday when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Dallas Cowboys to kick off the NFL season. The state has been very efficient with sports betting implementation, but there have been a few complaints along the way.
One of the issues with Arizona sports betting was settled on Monday when a judge refused to block a new Arizona law allowing sports betting to be offered by professional sports franchises. This decision will help Arizona sports betting expand massively starting on September 9, when the industry goes live.
Details of the court case
The Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe was the group behind the law. They wanted the part of the Arizona sports betting law to be deemed unconstitutional that allowed professional sports teams to receive licenses.
Many of the professional sports teams in the state have already secured betting partnerships with massive operators. The Arizona Cardinals, who begin their 2021 slate, have teamed up with BetMGM for their sports wagering partnership.
The tribe believed that the law violated Arizona’s Voter Protection Act because it illegally changed the 2002 voter initiative by allowing non-tribal groups opportunities to launch gambling. Nevertheless, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge James Smith did not agree to issue an injunction.
The ruling occurred on Labor Day, which was not typical, but necessary with sports betting beginning on Thursday. The state law in Arizona splits licenses between the sports teams and tribal nations.
Multiple tribal nations were cut out of sports betting because there were only ten licenses available. Every sports team or facility that requested a permit was given the opportunity to offer sports wagering.
Judge Smith deemed that Proposition 202 was exclusive to gambling that took place at casinos. Therefore, sports franchises could offer betting legally according to state law.
Smith wrote, “Plaintiff did not cite language from the proposition indicating that Arizona would never expand gambling to different activities or locations. What is more, the proposition contemplated gambling expansions.”
C.J. Karamargin, the spokesman for Gov. Doug Ducey, publicized the excitement of the ruling. If professional sports franchises were cut from sports betting, the industry would have been dead before starting.
Karamargin wrote, “Today’s ruling is not just a win in court, but a win for Arizona. A tremendous amount of work by a diverse group of stakeholders has gone into implementing HB2772 and the amended tribal-state gaming compacts. This ruling means that work will be allowed to continue.”
The tribe also tried to argue that the ruling is unfair because sports teams had more opportunities to receive licensure than the tribes. Although, the industry revolves around money and sports teams are more lucrative for betting. This was a thought process used when the legislature was constructing the sports betting bill in Arizona.
Some tribes were forced to pay a nonrefundable $100,000 licensing fee and not receive a permit. Even though the tribe’s representation utilized this during the case, Judge Smith agreed with the rules displayed by the state’s lawmakers.