The outcome of a lawsuit filed in Maricopa County Superior Court seeking to halt the rollout of Arizona sports betting should become clearer on Labor Day.
That’s because Superior Court Judge James Smith on Thursday scheduled a preliminary injunction hearing at 9 a.m. Arizona time for Monday.
The lawsuit was filed by the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe, which argued that Arizona House Bill 2772 that legalized sports betting and daily fantasy sports in the state, was unconstitutional.
Arizona sports bettors have been able to take advantage of early registration bonuses that began Aug. 28. The previous day the Arizona Department of Gaming approved 18 sports betting licenses. New bettors have received Arizona promo codes during early registration.
The Yavapai-Prescott suit argues that the state’s new gaming compact is unconstitutional.
Status of Launch Isn’t Clear
We don’t know whether sports betting will launch at 12:01 a.m. Thursday (Sept. 9), as originally planned.
That’s because Smith’s ruling is likely to be appealed, giving whatever appellate court takes over the case roughly 48 hours to decide before the launch date.
Smith said his goal is to have a decision sent out to the presiding attorneys for both sides by Monday night but said that what happens after that is out of his hands.
“My goal is to, if at all possible, get something out to you Monday night so that you'll know what the ruling is,” Smith said. “And then you can move on to the appellate level."
Who Will Be Interviewed?
Attorneys for the governor’s office said they plan on interviewing between five and seven people as part of their defense on Monday.
Both sides will have 30 minutes to interview witnesses, before Smith issues his ruling, the judge said Thursday.
An attorney representing ADG Director Ted Vogt said the department plans to parallel its defense with the governor’s office, to simplify the hearing on Monday.
Quick Turnaround Time
Attorneys for all sides must submit their defendant’s responses Friday afternoon, with witness testimony due no later than 7 p.m. local time Friday, Smith said.
In addition, the plaintiff’s replies are due to Smith no later than Sunday afternoon, representing the breakneck turnaround time of the case.
The reason for the urgency, Smith said, is the looming deadline for the rollout of sports betting and the likelihood of an appeal in the case.
“I’m sensitive to the fact that there is a deadline out there that you want to meet,” Smith said. “The dissatisfied party is going to appeal, so I’m trying to get this done as soon as I can so that you can jump through this hoop and get whatever appellate court you want to end up with.”